So who did it all begin? How did you start painting pets?
If I had a pound for everytime I’ve been asked this I’d be rich!!! If I think about it, it’s an odd thing to specialise in, someone without pets or who wasn’t keen on owning a pet (I can’t believe those people exist!) would never fathom why you would want a pet painted to hang on a wall anyway. Luckily there are many, many devoted owners who cherish their pets and want a reminder, memorial or just a wonderful piece of artwork to keep.
I had no marketing idea to be honest, it didn’t hit me like a lightning bolt as a profession but there is a bit of a story (not too long though) and it’s all to do with my Dad.
I was a typical daughter, never giving much thought to anyone else at Christmas, as a child I wasn’t too bothered about what I was giving as gifts but more worried about what I was receiving (in actual fact I’m not much better now!) but I received a sharp poke from my Mum to remind me I hadn’t bought my Dad a Christmas present. Ignoring the sharp poke I left it too late to get him anything and it was time according to Mum that I learned a lesson. As you can imagine I was distraught, and set about drawing my Dad’s spaniel. Oh my life, it was terrible, deformed, one ear twice as long as the other, a twisted nose, cross eyed and not looking much like his dog at all.
However, on Christmas morning I went from zero to hero and my Dad took it to pub (all men are allowed to go to the pub on Christmas Day, it’s the one day of the year they are thrown out of the house!) to show everyone and it went down a storm!
With requests from him for Father’s Day, birthday and more Christmas portraits my skills did improve and I moved on from school pencils to artist quality coloured pencils. I loved the colour but they didn’t sing at all, I could add the detail but there was no zing to them so when a friend from school offered me some pastels I gave them a go. Well what a revelation, it took a while to get the paper/pastel combination right for me but now I’m hooked. I’ve now added charcoal to my repertoire and although I’ve spent a small fortune on other artists materials, I doubt I’ll ever seriously convert.
My Dad has been my biggest advocate, he’s shown all his friends, made them bid on a pencil drawing I did for a harvest festival plus I think he’s twisted a few arms to get commissions for me!
It’s a funny route we take to get where we are. For years I’ve fumbled around with a full time job with my pet portraits being an extra income for treats but after joining my local Guild and exhibiting with them at some pretty big shows things have taken off in the last couple of years. I’ve had a log cabin studio built and as of a this year I am now a full time artist. All that from a terrible pencil drawing, which was hideous!
Just for your information, you can see one of the spaniel paintings I did for my Dad here and then you can see it framed! Thankfully my skills have improved over the years and my parents’ house is a mini gallery full of my work!
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