A while ago I came across the work of a painter and illustrator called Kim Haskins. She paints cats (but also the odd chicken, dog and tortoise) in a humorous style, with brilliantly expressive faces. I loved her work as soon as I saw it, and I kept thinking, "one day, I'll treat myself and buy one of her paintings".
I kept coming back to her website and on one of these visits I noticed that she did commissions. Hmm, I had a little lightbulb moment. I wonder if she would mind painting a picture of my two cats? I think she was offering a discount in January and I thought, "well, it's now or never" so I dropped her an email.
She was more than happy to do the painting - I just had to send her some photos of Mischief and Millie, and tell her what size I was thinking of. I also told her a little bit about their personalities, as I thought this might help in deciding how to set up the picture.
She sent me back some sketches, and one stood out from the rest. One of the photos I sent her was this one, Mischief reclining on one of our spare dining chairs, which was covered by one of my first attempts at a crocheted granny square blanket
Kim said that this one caught her eye, because she's a knitter and is drawn to handmade blankets; she was even thinking about having a go at crochet (I said I thought she should definitely try it). So we decided that the painting would be the two cats sitting together on the chair, but there would only be a 'hint' of chair and blanket, so as not to distract from the two main stars!
She emailed me a photo of the painting when it was just about finished, to check if it was ok, so I already knew what it was going to look like. However, that didn't detract from the excitement of opening the package when it arrived, and taking the painting out and looking at it in all it's glory for the first time!
It's propped up on the bed because I was going to try and get a photo of Mischief and Millie sitting either side of it - more on that in a moment. Isn't it fantastic??
Just look at their expressions! I'd explained to Kim that, although they get on, Mischief kind of 'tolerates' Millie, whereas she just wants to be his friend. I think he's got a sort of indignant look on his face because she's jumped up to sit next to him, whilst Millie is all sweet and innocent.
As I said, I tried to get them both to sit next to the painting, but they were having none of it.
The plan of using a little treat at either side of it just resulted in them having their backs to me, so eventually I settled for individual photos
You get the idea!
It's now hanging pride of place in the living room, and it brings a smile to my face every day. I'm so glad I decided to get in touch with Kim and commission such a personal painting that we'll treasure forever.
I've linked to her website above, but here it is again, and she's also on Facebook and Twitter.