Animals · paintings · portraits

Image Dump: New cat (and human) oil paintings!

Yes, I’ve been busy painting lots of cat portraits and human portraits. Because I’ve been neglectful in updating this blog, I’m dumping a lot of new oil paintings in this post!

“Sun-kissed Tabby,” 6×6″ oil on canvas panel

This painting was just completed tonight, but it waited on my easel for way, way too long. So glad to finally call it “done”! I really loved capturing all the different colors I saw in this kitty, not least was the light showing through the ears.

“A Lock of Red Hair,” 12×12″ oil on panel. Photo reference by Marvin Mansilla (used with permission).

This is another painting that took a long time to complete. I actually signed it years ago, but only recently decided that it was truly “done” after a few touch-ups. I saw this fantastic photo on Instagram, contacted the photographer, Marvin Mansilla, to get permission to do a painting. He said yes, and here is the result! Thank you so much, Marvin, for being such an amazing photographer!

“Corazón roto” 6×6″ oil on canvas panel

I’m learning some new techniques and studying some new (to me) art concepts. One new thing is speed painting, or oil “gestures.” The goal is to see how much can be done in an hour. Well, I couldn’t quite finish this painting in an hour—it took 80 minutes. But I’m still surprised with myself! This painting is part of my “novela” series (paintings inspired by Mexican telenovelas).

In this portrait painting, this poor man obviously has had his heart broken, hence the title “Corazón roto” (broken heart).

I used a limited palette of White and Burnt Umber. I like Winsor & Newton’s Burnt Umber, as it has a warmer cast than some other paint brands.

“Minus the Tabby” 6×6″ oil on canvas panel

This is another “speed paint,” or a “gesture” painting, though it took longer than an hour. (Probably two hours?) This time I used a limited palette of Burnt Umber, White, Ultramarine Blue, a tiny bit of Yellow Ochre to mix the green eyes and a tiny bit of red to add some color to the nose.

Minus is one of my kitties. She is named after a cat we had when I was a kid. My dad named the original “Minus,” but I have no idea why he chose that name. (He had a propensity to giving everything and everyone weird or hilarious nicknames!)

Minus is a very sweet kitty, but a little “minus” in the brains department, alas. But of course she is very loved!

“Wide-Eyed” 4×4″ oil on canvas panel.

I loved the reflection in the eyes of this kitty and enjoyed capturing the many colors in the fur and also that wide-eyed expression.

All these paintings are available through my Daily Paintworks gallery.

Animals · paintings

Mini Tabby miniature painting (2 x 2 inches)

Close up cat portrait in oils, 2x2 inches, by J Dunster
“Mini Tabby” oil on gessoed panel, 2 x 2 inches

Yes, another cat painting! I decided to go small again, and recently completed this tiny kitty portrait in oils. As I mentioned in a previous post, I love Trekell’s mini painting panels, which was what I used here. The texture on the painting surface is far smoother than the other mini 2×2″ canvas panels on the market.

Photo for scale, showing size of cata painting compared to an iPhone.
For scale: The little painting next to an iPhone SE.

I can complete a painting this small in a relatively short amount of time, but in this case, I thought I had “finished” the painting but then changed my mind and did a little more work on it a few days later. Sometimes artists need to get some distance from recently finished art to see if there is anything else that needs a little work, and that was the case here. What also surprised me was how I was able to add far more details than I expected on something of this size, which is a good thing!

This painting is currently available for sale on DailyPaintworks.

I’m currently working on several more cat paintings and also just started another portrait from my “Novela series.” It feels so, so SO good to be back to painting!

Animals · paintings · portraits

Mini Siamese Kitty and other paintings

Mini Siamese Kitty – 2×2″ oil on primed panel

New small cat paintings

I neglected to post these paintings earlier, after I first painted them. But it’s never too late. Here they are now!

I painted “Mini Siamese Kitty” on a Trekell Mini Panel. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these panels and bought an embarrassingly large amount of them. They now reside in my substantial stash of painting panels.

They are fabulous panels because they have a subtle texture that isn’t too overpowering when you’re painting that small. I much prefer them over extra-small panels that use canvas.

To give you context to comprehend how small this painting is, behold:

Mini Siamese Kitty next to a pink packet of sweetener. Just so you understand HOW SMALL this painting is!
“Green-Eyed Kitty” 3×3″ oil on panel.

I really enjoyed painting this tabby. I used a 3×3″ mini panel from Trekell with that same sublime subtle texture. So much fun to paint on—so much fun!

“Fluffy Tabby in the Grass” 5×5″ oil on canvas panel

I enjoyed painting this tabby kitty with all the grass reflecting on his fur. The size at 5×5″ was a little small, but since oil paint is so smooth and buttery it’s amazing how much detail you can capture if the canvas texture is not too rough.

“Siamese Tabby” 6×6″ oil on canvas panel

The color cast of the reference photo was a little warmish and I battled capturing the contrast between the warm yellow-greens and the magenta-burgundy colors in the shadows. In the end, I liked the way the painting turned out. Such beautiful blue eyes on this kitty!

Inspired by telenovelas

“Ana” 6×6″ oil on canvas panel

I fussed with this portrait a bit, but…what the heck, put a fork in it, it is done!

If you’ve seen a few select shows in the USA or if you speak Spanish (or study Spanish), you might (might! the likeness isn’t perfect!) recognize this woman. She’s a Mexican telenovela actress and I love the telenovelas. Many of the small portrait studies I paint are “inspired” (meaning the likeness is purposely not 100% there) by Mexican telenovelas. I am learning Spanish and watching Spanish TV is a great learning tool. But I’d be lying if I claimed I just watched telenovelas to practice Spanish. I also just love the over-the-top drama and the gorgeous Mexican landscapes and architecture. Watching my telenovelas is a true guilty pleasure.

There is a wealth of inspiring painting material from these telenovelas (so many emotions expressed, so much drama!) and so I’ve got a queue of reference photos from telenovelas lined up, ready to be painted.

A few other examples of “telenovela inspired” paintings include Jorge, Indecision, Eavesdropping, Señorita, Intense, Sad Tears, and Mercy.

Animals · paintings

“Biter of Hands” & some “questionable” choices

“Biter of Hands,” 5×5″ oil on canvas panel.

I haven’t been updating my blog in a while, but here I am! As you can see, I’ve made some big changes—moved my blog from my main domain ( to this wordpress-hosted site ( I just got sick of troubleshooting wordpress problems and resolving issues and incompatibilities with my web host. Let WordPress themselves do all the heavy lifting!

So here is a small oil painting of one of my cats, “Minus” (or also known as “Void” because sometimes she seems a little “void” between her ears). She does sometimes bite hands. Very affectionate cat, but sometimes gets overexcited and then…bites.

There is also some news (see reference to “questionable choices” in this post’s title) about…kittens. Yes, I have some new models for my cat paintings.

The neighbors couldn’t keep these kittens and we just couldn’t fathom the idea of leaving them to their fate, so now we have kittens. They’re all adorable, very loving, purr constantly, and are very naughty. (They wouldn’t be normal kittens if they weren’t naughty!)

I’ve already got a few good photos ready to use as painting reference. They’re utterly precious.

Animals · Misc. Stuff · paintings

Two new cat head paintings, long and rambling updates

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted to this blog, and there’s a good reason for that (which I’ll get to later in this post). Forgive me as this will be long and rambling!


First, I want to share two of my latest cat head paintings:

Black and White and Fluffy (#2) 5×7″ oil on oil primed panel. I used a reference photo by a photographer on the “Paint My Photo” community.


Perky Young Orange Kitty, 6×8″ on canvas panel.

Continue reading “Two new cat head paintings, long and rambling updates”

Animals · Misc. Stuff · Tutorials

Behold a Pale Orange Cat & super-mini studio setup

I’ve got a few new cat head paintings to post, but first, the latest news:

“Pale Orange Cat,” 5″ x 7″ oil on Pintura Painting Panel

Another painting completed tonight! This time, I finished this little painting at a most unusual working space: my computer desk!

As I mentioned in a previous post, these are desperate times for me (studio-wise) because now I am fulfilling my duties as a part-time caregiver for a family member. Gone are the days when I can gallivant away to my lovely studio and paint until the wee hours. I must stay homebound and be a caregiver. (And that’s okay. It’s family, after all!) I finally developed a workaround (a small studio area) to allow me to work in a very cramped space, but tonight, I decided to go even smaller.

I hope that my situation (and my solution for it) might be useful for other artists out there. Surely I’m not the only one who is dealing with a desperate need to paint, but only with cramped spaces available to work!

My very small
My very small “studio area.”

I did my painting on a computer table. Not even a “real” computer table, just some table that I’ve been using for my 20″ iMac.  Continue reading “Behold a Pale Orange Cat & super-mini studio setup”

Animals · paintings · Tutorials

My micro-mini studio space, with some cat heads.

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I thought I’d add a little more information about my itty-bitty, microscopic studio “area.” Perhaps all the information I share here will help someone else set up a small studio too.

Cat Head work in progress, on its
Cat Head work in progress, on its “easel,” a Guerilla Painter Thumb Box (5×7″).

I only have a super-cramped area in which to work. I use overhead light as my light source. (So far, so good.) Right now all I’ve been  working on are smaller paintings that can fit in the “easel” part of my small Pocket Box (maximum size, 5×7″). Very soon I’ll be using another table easel type thing that should accommodate slightly larger panels (hopefully up to at least 12×12″).

A wider view of the whole
A wider view of the whole “studio” area, crammed onto a small foldable table.

Here’s a wider view of the studio layout:

I’m using an inexpensive 26″ x 18″ foldable table (bought from On the left is the tablet (a 10-inch Android-based Lenovo) which displays my reference photo (a cat head picture from Flickr!). Continue reading “My micro-mini studio space, with some cat heads.”

Animals · paintings · portraits

After another long absence, some updates, awards, etc

I have neglected this blog (as well as painting), but it hasn’t been without a reason.

Some old (but still exciting) news is that I got some recognition from the Art Muse Contest for April 2016. Thank you so much to the judge! I was a finalist in the “Emerging” category and also got the additional honor of being eligible for Gallery Representation. Pretty cool, and I am honored and thrilled!

“The Greek Artist” 12″ x 12″ oil on panel. Finalist in the Art Muse Contest! This is a portrait of a fellow artist who has strong Greek roots—a detail that brings him great pride! I snapped an impromptu photo of him while he was attending a figure drawing session. The photo made a good basis for a portrait.

“The Greek Artist” also got a “Fav 15%” from the Bold Brush awards, so that was also very cool.

There were a couple of other honors, and I need to update my “About Me” page to include them! This Spring was especially good to me.

And for other news… the last several months I’ve been quiet on this blog. I also haven’t posted any new paintings for sale on DailyPaintworks or UGallery for quite a while. Continue reading “After another long absence, some updates, awards, etc”