Kirstin Wood’s portraits of cats dogs almost burst off the canvass with their lavish use of colour. But what’s behind this outlandishly vivid palette, and where did the idea of painting pets come from?

“I worked in theatre and we were always led by designers who used colour to express emotion and atmosphere. I’m not scared of it; I’m really excited by it. My house is extremely colourful.”

Kirstin was a scenery painter for about 12 years before taking a break in 2005 after having a baby daughter. Finding it hard to get back into theatre a few years later, she tried a number of artistic endeavours, from advertising herself as a mural artist – “It didn’t happen” – to furniture painting – “It was fashionable at the time” – to working in a school’s art department, where working with other creatives really fired her up.

On the advice of her mum to “just paint something” she began in September 2014 and set a deadline of April 2015 for an exhibition at Gatton Hall. “I started with a photo of a cat that I thought would make a nice painting, and my challenge was to paint a picture a week – I churned ‘em out like a factory!”

The resulting show was a great success with many paintings selling. But more than that, it set Kirstin on a whole new road to a colourful new career.

kirstinwood.co.uk

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