Friday, May 9, 2014

Artist Profile: Sophie Cayless

Meet Sophie Cayless, an artist in Ohio, US. You can learn more about her at her website As well as being an artist, she teaches art to children and adults.
Sophie Cayless    (

1-What are my favorite pet portraits?

I have two--one of a cat and one of a dog. When I saw the photo of the young black and white cat, I was struck by his personality. He rests regally on the chair cushion, as if in charge, and lives up to his dignified name--Oliver Antonio!

Just recently I enjoyed creating a colored pencil portrait of a "blonde" labrador retriever. I built up her soft and subtle fur colors gradually, with tones of golden, peach, mauve and beige. Then after drawing the funny little clump of snow on her nose (as in the reference photo), I indicated snow in the background with a bluish haze...a nice contrast.

2-What inspires me?

In general, beauty. Specifically, nature, in landscapes, flowers, wildlife, the night sky...with all its richness of color, variety of lighting, and graceful lines and patterns.  Though domestic, pets also fall into this category.

I am also inspired by certain paintings and drawings, especially the Impressionists and similar. I find some children's book art remarkably lovely, for example the soft look of Frances the badger as illustrated by Garth Williams, the expressive yet realistic animals of Marcel Marlier, the color and design of Barbara Cooney, and more.

3-What are some of my current projects?

I am drawing a series of ephemeral spring wildflowers on site in the woods, to get the best look at their subtle colors. I am also reviewing proofs of a picture book for the Cleveland Museum of Art, about a butterfly (from a still life) who tours the museum (Belle's Wild Ride). I finished illustrations for this book earlier this year.

Thanks Sophie...I'm so glad you participated in the 2014 Paws For Charity Project!

Click on this link to preview this year's book:
For a 25% discount on your purchase, input coupon code P4C2014 (valid until June 30, 2014). All proceeds from the sale of these books are donated to Sheltering Helpless Animals in Distress (, an animal Shelter in Nova Scotia.
E-books are also can preview e-books here:

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