|Jake, Amazon Blue Parrot. 2008. Clayboard engraving (scratchboard) and ink. Collection of Richard Affalter, Jr.|
They make us laugh. They make a mess. They make our hearts melt. They make us hand over the treats.
...And eventually, much too soon, they make us cry — just like we've lost our best friend. They are with us such a short time, these fur-clad messengers of love and devotion. We stockpile the memories of their antics and retell the stories again and again. But we miss their expressive faces.
But creating art is much more than reproducing the world with pinpoint accuracy.
Photographs dutifully record every ray of light that the camera "sees." Artists, on the other hand, process what passes through their eyes, filtering out the nonessentials to reveal, well, the "essence" of my subject -- a living, breathing being bursting with personality. Your photo records your pet's likeness — my portrait captures the "life-ness."
It is about the connection between eyes and hands and more. The brain -- microprocessor and switchboard --takes care of the mechanics of vision and small-motor coordination. But more important are the Mind, Soul, Spirit, those seats of emotion and memory.
|Meet Gretel, my friends' dear, departed Basset Hound. Gretel was her dad's hunting buddy, specializing in tracking bunnies with that incredible nose. I had to redo her nose several times, even calling my friend to ask, "Was Gretel's nose impossibly huge?" She assured me, "Yes!" Bassets look like caricatures come to life!||Gretel's portrait brought out a glamorous side no one realized she had! She's one of the most popular dogs in the PetsPictured.com CafePress store. I also use her on my business card and Yellow Pages ad. Those oversized, exaggerated Basset features work well at small sizes.|
If you know you want a portrait, don't wait until you've rounded up photos or decided between color and black-and-white!
$100.00 deposit on your pet portrait will lock in your place on my waiting list. I'll contact you right away to work out the details.
I always call my portrait subjects by name when I'm working on them. Even my family knows "Britt," "Lindsey," Sadie," "Gretel," "Bart and Tali," "Marie and Pierre," "Candy," "Buddy," "Miss Kitty," "Bandit," "Barkley," "Daisy," "Sunny," "Jake," and others by name!
I'd love to meet your best buddy, too, and capture that wonderful face that makes your heart melt (and makes you do their bidding!). Bring back warm memories of a beloved birdie now gone. Capture your kitty for all time. Or commission your current mutt's angelic mug as a reminder next time you arrive home to evidence of a chewing marathon!
Your first step in having your pet's portrait done is choosing a medium. If you haven't touched drawing or painting materials since school, don't worry, you can't make a mistake! One medium isn't "better" or more valuable than another. Besides the obvious color differences, black-and-white portraits and color portraits "specialize" in emphasizing different aspects of a subject. Think about what you love most about your dog's face.
|My current canine companion Rosie is a black Standard Poodle — it almost makes no difference at all whether I use color or black and white! The left is titled "Rosie's First Fall." I chose color for this portrait -- watercolor and colored pencil -- to depict the pile of autumn leaves she had been playing in. The black-and-white portrait on the right was done in graphite pencil.|
|On the other hand, Maggie, our dear, departed Irish Setter had a beautiful red coat, so a color portrait was a natural. Her coloring shines in an oil pastel portrait (above).||The pencil portrait of Maggie on the right was done from the same photo, so you can see the difference. Pencil emphasizes the expression and character more without the distraction of color. It also allows more detail and emphasizes the texture of the coat.|
Is black-and-white the perfect portrait for your pet?
Is color the perfect portrait for your pet?
I've done dozens of each kind of portrait. I'll be glad to give you the benefit of my experience about what portrait suits you and your dog. Get in touch below.
TO ORDER: Email artist Sue Donley, click the chat box on the top right corner of the page, or phone 412-212-3223 (my toll-free Google Voice number) to discuss your portrait.