Rub My Belly – A Portrait of Wilbur (Painting)

Rub My Belly – a commissioned portrait of Wilbur the cat.

This is the secret commission I was working on from October to before Christmas.

Acrylic on box canvas 20cm x 20cm. 2009. Sold.

wilbur straight on

wilbur facing right

wilbur from below wilbur straight facing left 

wilbur detail

Work in Progress

We start with my own cat Flyman showing a lot of interest in this painting of Wilbur – his nemesis who lives next door.

Here I am painting in the outline as the first stage. With small canvas I work on a board on my lap usually with my paints to my side if I can persuade the cat not to lie on them.

WIP Wilbur 01 20091126

Outline completed which acts as a guide.  The lines will be repainted at the end.

WIP Wilbur 03 20091201

Couple of coats of base colour for body.

WIP Wilbur 05 20091201

Working on the stripes.

WIP Wilbur 07 20091201

More work on the sripes, light and shade.

WIP Wilbur 09 20091204

Couple of coats on the background.

WIP Wilbur 10 20091204

Background lightened a little to balance with Wilbur.

WIP wilbur 11 20091205

Pretty much finished just the signature and a couple of details to do.

WIP wilbur 12 20091205

Finished piece.

wilbur straight on


  1. If anyone ever has the misfortune to meet this cat they will see what a fantastic job you have done. Love it!

    1. Do you mean paint the whole canvas say blue and then paint over that? That wouldn’t work because I use thin layers of paint so the base colour adds to the effect. So if I painted the canvas blue and then painted over that it would change the colours.

      I have painted the background first or earlier in the process with some works. Mainly it just makes sense to me to do it the way I do. Part of it is to do with how it feels, part of it is practical. Also due to the way in which I paint and handle the canvas the corners and edges of the canvas are vulnerable to chips. So if I do the background early on there’s more chance of it getting damaged before I’ve had chance to seal it.

      The short answer is because that’s just how I do it 🙂

  2. Rachel, I do not wish to hurt Flyman’s feelings but Wilbur is drop dead gorgeous. I am in love.

    There is nothing I don’t like about him: Ginger, his eyes being able to do entirely different things at the same time, his two coloured whiskers, his claws (is he falling from a great height?) and not least his Martini glass shaped nose and mouth (one olive only).

    Fabulous execution, Rachel.

    Let’s hope we’ll all fall on our feet as, no doubt, Wilbur will.

    Being only twenty days into 2010 it’s not too late to wish you, your Mr Creative, Flyman and his nemesis next door a Happy New Year.


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