Pets and Portraits

Pet Portraits are an ideal gift for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas, so much more personal than a photograph, I've completed over forty commissions now and each one invokes a particular memory for me, usually stemming from the client's reaction. Here are a selection from my portfolio, but please note, I no longer take commissions for pet portraits. 
My first pet portrait came about when a friend asked me if I could do a painting of his three cats as a Christmas present for his wife. Despite having poor quality photos to work from they were really pleased with the result.
Len and friends
A montage of three cats made up from individual photographs

So now with a bit of confidence I decided shortly afterwards to paint my sister’s boxer dog for her birthday. Again she was really pleased with it and I realised I might be on to something, and advertised locally in the run-up to Christmas.
my sister's boxer

I was inundated with requests but despite a tight schedule I managed to get all commissions done, and despite the fact some of the photos I was given to work from were of deceased pets and not good quality my clients always seemed pleased with the results.
Neapolitan family
again composed from individual photographs

A much loved deceased pet but luckily not a bad photo to work from
watercolour and coloursoft pencils


Not the best photo but my portrait of this sadly departed siamese
left the owner with a tear in her eye
watercolour and coloursoft pencils

My first horse and still one of my favourite commission pictures
watercolour and coloursoft pencils

one of the more unusual subjects but as I love painting birds
this was a pleasure to do

This portrait was done from a photo the size of a postage stamp but with
very little detail to work from this loose image based on light and shadow
is one of my favourites
watercolour and pencil
The reveal to the client is in fact both the most stressful and most rewarding part of the job, I know I’ve done a good image of a dog, cat, horse or whatever, but is it theirs? Reactions say it all, I’ve had some beautiful messages from clients, especially those of deceased pets I’ve painted and one or two tears as well, so I must be doing something right.
These days I don’t really advertise the pet service but I get enough requests by word of mouth or when attending market stalls to keep me going with that aspect of my work.
I enjoy painting horses best of all I think, and have recently completed this commission in watercolour and coloured pencil for the assistant of a friend at work.
Jane's horse
My most recent commission
watercolour and coloursoft pencils

Portraits of children are another way of finding that unique gift for for the family. An original artwork has that personal touch which shows you care, and also helps me to hone my observation skills by drawing portraits in pencil. An ordinary photograph interpreted in graphite can give it a new lease of life, and a challenge for me as the artist, as I have to get it exactly right.

This first example is a straightforward copy of a school photograph
of two sisters. The original was only postcard size but I scaled this
one up to 20x16ins. and it now sits above the fireplace of the
client's living room as the focal point. 

This portrait of two young brothers shows how a single composition can
be made from photographs taken at different times and places, in this
case one outdoors and one indoors.

This final example shows how a natural pose can be captured by
using a candid photograph shot at distance with the subject unaware.
As long as enough detail is shown in the original photograph,
no matter how small, a good likeness can be aquired.
Pencil portraits in this style require intense focus on the part of the artist as no-one knows their children better than the parents and family so any slight error will be glaring, luckily with pencil such errors can be amended, but I don't take a deposit, and my guarantee is that if the client is not fully satisfied by my efforts then no fee will be charged, and a single pencil portrait up to approx. A4 size would carry a charge £45.
So if you would like to enquire about a pencil portrait for yourself or as a gift for a loved one, please contact me by email for a no obligation quote, but please note, I now only do pet portrait commissions on special request for family and friends.

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