Capturing Tails and Whiskers: The Unexpected Joy of Pet Portraits
In the realm of making art, sometimes the most unexpected road leads to the most fulfilling destination! This is the story of how an unexpected gift turned into a passion project, that brought not only joy to myself, but so much joy to others!
It all began about three years ago when my boyfriend and I had just started our dating. His sister's Golden had sadly crossed the rainbow bridge, and my boyfriend had asked me to paint a portrait to memorialize him as a gift.
Little did I know that this this was the start of something new! The portrait turned out to be so much more than I had expected. His sister's reaction was more than I could have hoped for, a genuine love for the piece. But what surprised me even more was the joy I had in painting it, and making her so happy.
Next thing I knew, I kept on painting dogs! Word spread from there! The demand was unexpected, and while initially juggling other personal projects, I found myself drawn to this new and unexpected adventure. Never did I ever think I'd be painting dogs! I was currently knee deep in extremely detailed hotel renderings, and poolside escapes! This was something new, and actually quite stress free! And a nice escape from the detail oriented work of my other pieces.
There's just something happy about painting people's pets. Each furry subject seems to tell a story. My favorite compliment I get is, "you've captured the eyes so perfectly!" I love to be able to use the expressive medium of watercolor, with all it's looseness and airy-ness, but still be able to capture the spirit and true unique character of each pet.
Motivated by this newfound passion, I've decided to spread the word a little more - officially opening the doors to pet portrait commissions. There's a special place in my heart for these furry friends, and I want to share the happiness they bring me with others.
After continuing to paint animals, I've developed my own personal style. Watercolors in general have a light and airy feel that I enjoy. There's a commitment to watercolors when you lay down the paint, unlike oil or acrylic. You almost get what you get! Which yes is stressful, and why a lot of people don't like working in the medium, or say that it's difficult, which is true! But also there's a magic to watercolor. They're not "overworked" and I really enjoy how light and and whimsical they can appear to be. I love their translucency, I love layering color, and I love the watery paint strokes that they give.
I've also started to do what I call a "double painting process" which does add a layer of time to my pet portraits, but sets my work a apart from other watercolor artists. With this process, I can get a strong level of detail, highlights, and depth to the fur. After the piece is sketched, I'll use a masking fluid to paint out where I don't want paint. In my work you'll notice some negative space, and that's where I've used the masking fluid. I'll one at a time paint each fur out with masking fluid, then repaint the fur over it, and erase out the masking fluid, and lastly blend it all together. This process, is quite time consuming, but an important part of the magic behind my pet protraits.
So, here's to capturing tails and whiskers, and the joy in personalized pet portraits.
To commission your own personalized pet portrait, contact me at JenniferLaurenStudio@gmail.com or visit https://jenniferlaurenstudio.com/collections/pet-portraits