Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Painting Coco

Some of you may not know that I do pet portraits, especially if you're a new follower to my blog.  I guess I haven't talked about it much lately because I haven't actually painted one in a couple of years. My friend, Lorraine, asked me to paint her Coco recently, and I just delivered it last night, so I thought I would share it with you today.  

This one was a lot of fun to do...I mean, just look at that happy face!

My portraits are a little different than most--I'll explain how and why....

I really try to get a feel for the personality of the pet by doing an "interview" with the pet owners.  I just get them to talk about the furry little (or big) ones until I feel I have enough information to go on. Sometimes, I just ask for one-word descriptions, as I did in this case. Lorraine had already provided some lengthy writings (She's a blogger, too!) that she had posted on her blog back when they lost Coco, so that gave me some additional info to use as inspiration, as well.  Anyway, I then need good photographs.  I usually get several so that I can really see details that might not all show up clearly in just one.  That gives me several to reference as I paint.  I use bright colors, because I think it adds to the fun factor, but I do always try to get ideas about dislikes...for instance, Lorraine is not fond of the color red in decorating, so I only used red where absolutely needed (tongue) and stuck with a cool blue for the background.  Another cool (and fun!) characteristic of my pet portraits is the fact that they are mixed-media.  There will always be unexpected elements used in the piece. In this case, it was the Scrabble tiles spelling Coco's name.  I also let the piece tell a story that usually comes together in my mind over the course of a few days as I work on the piece.  I then cut up the text from discarded books and search until I find all the words needed to tell that story.  This part can take hours--you can imagine.  I had a hard time finding the word "wagging" for this particular painting, but I did eventually find it!  If I simply can't find a particular word, I will change my plan and maybe use permanent ink with letter stamps.  I have tons of fun art supplies available in my studio, so I always come up with something that will work.  Oh, and I didn't even tell Lorraine this, and I wonder if she's noticed yet, but the dog tag around his neck is inscribed in tiny numbers with the date that Coco went to doggie heaven.  I would have also included birth date, but I don't believe they knew that, as she was a pound puppy.  So now, with all that explained, I'll show you some more examples of some of my other pet portraits.

These pics are older and not the best quality, but hopefully you can get the idea.  

If you have a pet that you would like for me to paint, just message me and we can talk.   My prices are 8" x 10"--$50, 11" x 14"--$75.  These prices are for paintings on gallery wrapped canvas which requires no frame.  Other variations on sizes or materials can make the price vary a bit...Shipping is actual cost.

Thanks for hanging out with me today!


  1. I love that extra little detail Judy. I hung the painting in my office on the wall opposite my desk where I can see it all the time. It makes me feel like my Coco is still with me. I just love it!

    1. Nothing makes me happier than a happy pet owner when I get the portrait right! So glad it's bringing some happy memories back to you!

  2. these are all great Judy! I especially like your newest painting of Coco for Lorraine, I bet she had a fit over it! Love the Scrabble tiles~ I have done a handful of pet portraits, and find it challenging because it's not easy to capture their unique personalities. All of your pet portraits make me feel like I can reach out and pet those sweet heads! {pssst...you should raise your prices}

    1. Thank you, Jenna! She was happy with it which made me happy. I used to have trouble capturing the personalities when I painted in realism, but when I loosened it all up a bit and made them more fun and colorful, I can capture it all better now. I know that doesn't sound like it makes much sense, but maybe it's also just more years of experience painting...The interview with the pet parents also helps for me to know what I'm going for. I know my prices are low. They've been the same for about twenty years! I probably should think about raising them a bit. Thank you for your sweet comment!