Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why Pet Portraits?

About a year and a half ago I received a request to do a pet portrait.  I felt confident enough with my skill set to pull it off so I agreed to do it.  I took several photographs of the dog and after reviewing them, I chose one as a reference for a graphite drawing.  


graphite drawing
size: 14 x 17 inches (approx.)

click on image to enlarge

Somehow I had been able to capture his personality in a way that the photograph did not convey.  I was intrigued.  I began to wonder if I would still be able to capture the personality of an animal even if I just had photos and had never met the animal.  How would that work?

framed size 21 x 24 inches (approx.)

It wasn't long before I received another request for a pet portrait.  This one would be much more involved than  the previous one.  The pet owner provided me with several different photos of her dog, Winston.  She wanted a drawing that would include different images of Winston from photos taken from the time he was a puppy to the present.

graphite drawing
size:  14 x 17 inches (approx.)
click on image to enlarge
I ended up choosing six different images which I arranged in a composition that leads the viewers eye on a journey from the paw in hand to puppy to 3 months to one year to two years to present.  This montage also included a drawing of the owner with her dog which makes it even more personalized. I like to call this type of portrait a timeline montage. 

framed size: 21 x 24 inches (approx.)
click on image to enlarge

Watercolor is my first choice of painting media.
So when I received my first request for a watercolor pet portrait, I welcomed the challenge...  



image size:  14 x 17 inches (approx.)

This is Lucy the labradoodle. She was so excited to meet me that we didn't get any good photos the first time I visited.  But by the second visit, she was ready to pose!


The next request I received was from a friend and co-worker who said he wanted me to paint his "chiweenie."  I was a little confused until he explained that he has a dog that is a cross between a chihuahua and a dachshund.


watercolor and mixed media
image size: 10 x 12 inches (approx.)

This is River...  He was the beloved pet of a local veterinarian.  She had taken him in since he had special health needs and fell in love with him.  The office staff pooled their funds to have this drawing done as a gift to show their heartfelt condolences. 


graphite drawing
image size: 10 x 12 inches (approx.)

My next challenge was a triple dog group portrait!  I particularly enjoyed working on this one!  I was provided with a great photo plus the English bulldog just cracks me up - such a character!

Dozer, Marty, Jake

watercolor and mixed media
image size: 13 x 15 inches (approx.)

After I finished the painting, I took it to the printer I use for my fine art reproductions.  He can create high quality digital prints on rag art paper that look virtually identical to the original.  The pet owner wanted them both framed and he gave one to his daughter and one to his wife.

Everyone has heard the saying that the eyes are the windows to soul.  When I focus on the eyes as the subject of the painting, the personality of the animal comes through more clearly as an individual sentient being.  It is powerful.

watercolor and mixed media
image size:  6 x 13 inches


watercolor and mixed media
image size:  6 x 13 inches (approx.)


watercolor and mixed media
image size:  6 x 12 inches


watercolor and mixed media
image size:  6 x 12 inches
I would welcome the opportunity to create a portrait of your beloved pet.  For more information, please contact me.

My email:

  I will be happy to discuss different options and possibilities with you to create something personal and unique to honor a very special bond of love.   


Fine art reproductions of your pet portrait can me made for you to  share with loved ones.

Framing is available.

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