Thank you all so much for your messages of sympathy on my memorial post for Maui – it’s meant so much to me. It hasn’t been easy adjusting to the Maui-shaped hole in our lives, but our sweet pup Maggie is doing her best to keep us happily occupied! I don’t know how I’d have coped without her.
I’ve sold or donated most of Maui’s things, just keeping a couple of his favourite toys, but I wanted to have something special to remember him by. And, while I was preparing my memorial post by looking though 16 years of Maui photos (almost 2000 pics!), I spotted one random photo from 2013 that looked like it had the potential to become something more than a quick snap.
Maui was sitting in front of the TV (with the screen off):
As I got closer and continued to snap photos, he gazed up and out of the window, probably watching a bird outside:
The sunlight highlighted his beautiful eyes and whiskers, and the dark TV screen made for a dramatic background. I thought that, with a little cropping and editing, I could make this into a stunning portrait – a fitting tribute to my most elegant boy.
At first, I thought all I’d need to do would be to crop the photo around his head and then remove the bottom right of the picture, where the wall and clutter shows below the bottom of the TV screen. But, of course, the more I tweaked and adjusted, the more things I noticed that needed to be perfected.
I used my graphics tablet to create a complex system of layers and masks to remove all the background in a way that looked natural. It definitely wasn’t the way a pro would do something like this, but this is the first time I’ve tried to edit a portrait beyond removing the occasional blemish or stray hair, so I did a lot of experimenting and refining.
I ended up having to draw in and blend the edges around every single whisker by hand after I brightened and recoloured the photo, and then added another mask to tweak the colours further. It became more of an artistic process then I’d expected!
As I’d only started with a crop of a quick snap, my starting image wasn’t the highest quality, so that added some challenges, but finally I ended up with a portrait that I think captures Maui’s beauty in a truly eye-catching way. Here it is:
What do you think? Wasn’t he the most stunningly beautiful cat?
I sent my picture off to be printed on canvas, and waited…
And here’s the result!
A little bit closer…
I love it! Although it makes me feel a bit tearful to look at it right now, I know I’m going to appreciate my portrait of Maui for years to come.
I’m so pleased I happened to notice the potential in that original photo, and spent half a day turning it into this magical tribute to my handsome boy.