ONE Sunday morning last April, Cat Downing made a decision that would change her life (with a little help from Judy Murray.)

“I was drinking too much – and it had got to the stage when it was no longer fun,” she explains. “I spent most of the time wishing it was the weekend, or feeling hungover. That Sunday, I just knew I couldn’t do it any more. So I stopped.”

She smiles: “It was a revelation. I remember thinking – so THIS is how normal people live their lives?”

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Finding herself with ‘so much more energy’, Cat, who lives in Gartcosh, started going for long walks in the countryside near her home.

“I noticed the pylons, and I’ve always liked art, so I started to paint pictures of them,” she says. “I thought I might try to sell some of them, so put them on a website. I’m not daft, I realised I couldn’t just do pylons, so I started painting other buildings that inspired me. And I’m a huge tennis fan, so I did one of Andy Murray.”

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She laughs: “I couldn’t believe it when his mum, Judy, sent me a message and said she liked it and retweeted it – it was such a surprise. That’s when things really took off.”

It was a turning point – Judy went on to commission Cat, and word spread fast. Now, Cat’s works, which include colourful, quirky takes on architecture all over Glasgow and beyond, are in great demand.

“Once I’d started, I couldn’t bear not to be doing this all the time,” she says. “So I applied to Glasgow Kelvin College and got in – and I hope eventually to go to Glasgow School of Art.”

Cat grew up in St Andrews and after spells working in everything from waitressing to energy consultancy in Dundee and Edinburgh she settled in Glasgow four years ago, with her partner Andrew and daughter Anna, who is nine.

“I love Glasgow – there is so much variation, from the industrial buildings like the Finnieston crane, to the beautiful tenements, and I’m obsessed with Anniesland Cross,” she laughs. “At first, when I was driving around the city, looking for things to paint, so many places caught my eye that I had never really noticed before. Once you start to really look at the city, you can find so many amazing things.”

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Cat’s Glasgow-themed Christmas card range is now on sale, with all profits going to the Scottish Refugee Council. Cat has also supported other charities through sales of her products, including Glasgow Women’s Library, the Judy Murray Foundation and Shelter Scotland. Her range is available on her website,

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“PaintsPylons is all about positive vibes and I think the world needs more of that right now, especially as the weather turns grey and cold and rainy,” she says. “We’re not rich, but we are warm and have shelter and enough food, and plenty of people cannot say that right now.

“I have been in that dark place, I know how bad things can be and I fight hard to make sure I am not in that place any more. People helped me, so it’s good to feel positive, and to do something good for someone else.”