Step inside artist Jenny Belin’s colorful Carroll Gardens studio in Brooklyn, N.Y., and you’ll likely find her mixing acrylic paints and working on a canvas portrait of her (and our) favorite subject—a cat. Next to her easel would be Edye, her tortoiseshell feline companion, chilling out—maybe even purring along—to David Bowie tunes.
Born and raised in California, and now New York-based, Belin has dedicated more than 15 years to painting animal and boudoir portraits professionally. Belin, whose work has an expressionistic feel, was first inspired to draw at age 5 when she’d sketch her three cats—Shu-Shu, Annabelle, and Amy—in crayon. Today fans include Drew Barrymore who hired her to paint two pet portraits for a friend.
“I feel lucky to meet people that care as much about animals as I do. The stories and fun memories they share help me illustrate each pet’s charming personalities,” Belin tells InStyle.com. Working mostly from photographs, she aims to capture the individuality of each subject, focusing on perfecting a whisker here or a freckle there. When she’s not working on a commission piece, one of her favorite subjects is Karl Lagerfeld and his Siamese cat, Choupette.
“I was taken by all the stories I read in fashion magazines about the designer and his beloved pet when she was just a kitten,” she says. “As homage to them, I’ve probably painted four portraits of those two lovebirds.”