Discovering her true passion and inspiration in mid-life, Claudia has been painting and creating art ever since. She delights in painting cats in bright colors. Her cats are almost always based on real cats: her own, family and friends’, or customers’ cats. The wine country inspires her wine country cats and their escapades, and the Bay Area inspires her San Francisco cats. Her annual trip to Hawaii brings out her tropical cats and their stories, and her other travels inspire her cats on location art. Throughout her art career, felines have remained her favorite subject to paint.
Claudia always loved photography and took every class offered in high school. She worked for a professional portrait photographer throughout college. Her interest in photography has remained a constant. She photographs everything that she finds interesting and keeps her photos for future reference and inspiration.
In her thirties Claudia quit her job working as a Sales Administrator for a high-tech company and went back to college to pursue her dream of becoming an Interior Designer. The experience was both enjoyable and rewarding. She was ready for her new career, when something unexpected happened. Artwork she had created during her recent studies got ‘‘noticed’, and Claudia was immediately commissioned to paint four abstract pieces of art for an architectural firm in downtown Palo Alto, CA. Within months, her art was in two art galleries in the Bay Area. It was 1994–and the beginning of Claudia’s business, Claudia Sanchez Original Art + Design. Interior Design became her second career choice once she realized she would rather be painting.
Later that year, she needed to pick a theme for her first solo show in Sonoma County. Her most fun experience had been painting a cat for her mother for Mother’s Day. That solo show consisted of six abstracts and six cat paintings. It was a very successful show and Claudia’s Cats Collection™ was born. Her first felines were brightly colored but were ‘just cats’. As time went on, she began to experiment and have more fun with her cat art, painting vividly colored felines in humorous situations and various locations.
In 1994, Claudia obtained her first licensing agreement for t-shirts. After that, Claudia licensed her art to several different companies who made various products with her art on them, that sold nationwide. Tiles soon became her best seller and have proven to be the most item popular over the years.
Claudia is a self-taught painter. While she learned all about color, drawing, and design elements and principles in the interior design program, she did not learn how to hold a paint brush, or paint. Not knowing exactly how to proceed, she started by painting abstracts using traditional methods with brushes, watercolors, and watercolor paper.
In the early 2000’s, carpel tunnel syndrome in both hands dictated the need for change in technique–if Claudia was to continue painting. She had carpel tunnel surgery before returning to college once more to study computer science. Technology had evolved, and Claudia decided to use that to her advantage. She learned Photoshop, InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator. Excited to use her new skills, she began to create her fine art digitally.
In 2005 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She endured cancer surgery, chemo, and radiation treatments. Read more here. Though she was not painting much that year, new ideas for artwork kept flooding her mind. She kept a notebook with enough ideas for a lifetime! When she was painting again, digital painting was her method of choice.
Claudia’s methods for creating art have evolved dramatically over the years, in ways she never could have imagined. She was and is still intrigued by the endless possibilities and further technological advances. The challenge is still to learn completely new and different ways to make art and grow as an artist. You can read more about her painting methods and techniques over time in the GALLERY section of this website.
Whether a cat lover or not, Claudia’s Cats attract people with their vibrant colors, compelling eyes, sense of humor, and gold whiskers. On occasion, Claudia does paint other subjects including dogs, lush tropical landscapes, and cityscapes with sailboats in the foreground. Claudia’s art has been in homes, galleries, exhibits, shows, and stores for over two decades. It is collected by her followers and animal lovers worldwide. She is best known for her decorative ceramic art tiles which enhance the décor in homes, and her famous cat t-shirts.
Claudia is thankful for and appreciative of all the support and compliments she has received over the years from her admirers and collectors. Because of that, and her love of painting felines, she will continue to create new art, even during life’s most difficult challenges.
--to make myself happy and liven the spirits of others.
--to provide those who love it with a way to own it. To that end, my work is offered on a variety of products online in my Shopify store–from originals to ornaments.
—To help support and raise awareness about causes that are important to me. See the Cats for a Cause section.
Using my knowledge of art and design in combination with my artistic side, I love creating unique, brightly colored felines. I have used a multitude of different methods, materials, and approaches over the years.
I began by painting abstracts in the 90’s, but soon realized that people wanted to identify with a subject. Around that time, I saw the stunning work of Ron Burns, an artist who paints dogs. I also had the good fortune of meeting Sherri Reeves in person. Sherri paints tropical fish, landscapes, flowers, and more. Her advice, and the best advice I ever got, was to find my own niche.
Two of my loves suddenly came together: cats and color, and I began to paint brightly colored felines, most of whom are based on real cats. I enjoy painting cats in unconventional cat colors with realistic cat eyes, while maintaining their actual markings. My paintings are often humorous, with cats placed in human settings and situations. The finished cats almost always have gold whiskers.
While painting, I like making up an imaginary story about that cat, as if it had a secret life away from home. Often several cats and their tales become intertwined. This process makes me happy. If I can make you smile or laugh when you see my art, then that’s the cat’s meow. Enjoy!