Over the past week, I've spent my evenings painting a Shih Tzu dog named Zoey. Her painted picture was to be a gift from a woman to her brother, as both are Shih Tzu dog families, and he especially babied this little pup. He was to be surprised with a gift of his dog preserved as an 8x8" piece of art. But shortly after my customer commissioned this work, she emailed me to tell me the worst news; that Zoey had unexpectedly passed away, and that the grieving brother was visiting in a week from today.
So I worked a little faster than normal to provide the painting to the buyer, so that she could share it with him, hopefully some joy came from it. I know all too well that it's hard to be cheered up after the death of a family pet, especially one that is your truest love.
This is Ike the pit bull terrier. He's painted on an 8x10" canvas, intended to be framed by Denton's Frame Shop in OKC.
Ike is a country dog, with 80+ acres to patrol, and he's still the baby of the family out there, despite his ability to keep the property free of unwanted guests.
Sweet Daphne is an example of a dog much loved by her family, and she is advancing in years, and a painted portrait is a great way to preserve her loving face for all to enjoy. As of today she is much grayer than shown in the painting, but restoring a little color to her coat didnt seem like too much of a cheat, as it's nice sometimes to give yourself the chance to remember how something appeared at its prime of life.
She is painted on an 8x10" canvas with a 1 5/8" profile depth, intended in this case to display without a frame.
My customers often surprise me with their creativity with how they choose to display and frame the pet portraits.
This pair of 9x12" pooch paintings is a great example.
I knew when I began the paintings that the buyer planned to frame them, and I had in mind a modern, black, narrow profile frame molding, since these are a bit abstract and modern, and large in size.
But the ever-clever customer had a different idea and i think it turned out amazingly.
The 5" wide distressed, ornate southern cream color offsets the blues and greens and brings a connection to the highlights of the dogs that I would not have expected.
And to see them hung together vertically in this way is so dramatic, that even in the corner of the room, they catch your eye.
Pleasant surprises are always welcome, and I'm glad to learn a little myself.
This holiday season has been by far my biggest ever, in terms of the number of portraits I've been asked to do for my wonderful friends and clients. Amazing, thank you all so much.
A friend of mine operates a five-star pet service where she and her team check on your pets during the day, for potty breaks, or during your trips, and will walk them, etc. Visit doggonespoiledok.com for more info. Anyway, she's got a client for whom she wanted to create a special gift so she asked me to paint a small 5x7" portrait of her dog as a gift. The dog was a beloved pet and was getting on in years. I appreciated the opportunity to help her show a client a nice thank you.
I've included a photo of her painting here.
Seems like it's been a tough couple of months for many people in my world, as far as having to say goodbye to a pet. I've had several contacts come to me and ask them to please paint a picture of a pet they recently said goodbye to, and I know how hard that is.
In the last few months, my own family had to say goodbye to our wonderful 17 year old cat Gracie, and also to our 11 year old Westie dog Sugar.
We are an incomplete family now, down to one little dog for a pet, and all of us are left with broken hearts. Rosie the wonderpup is not her usual self... she is listless and mopey without her best friend Sugar, and the cat to follow around and investigate. Much less hopping to get places, more slow walking. But she, like my wife, son and me, carries on the best way she can, enjoying having all the bones and couches to herself. Staring off in to space perhaps a bit more than usual. I wonder often if she thinks about her friends....
And so it goes. Another wonderful pet lover brought me the challenge of painting not only her beloved golden retriever, but herself as well in the picture, to share one of the last embraces they shared. The original pictures were heartbreaking, as they depicted exactly the feeling pet lovers have as the last goodbye looms closer... that needs to just hug and wish this never had to happen.
Custom-painted pet portraits are perfect for so many situations!
Choice of canvas options has proven to be worth a little bit of explanation, as the variables can affect where you display the picture, how it lasts, and whether you need to frame it.
"Standard" depth for a canvas is .75", designed to be displayed in a frame nearly 100% of the time, although there are exceptions.
"Gallery Wrap" can imply a number of different profile depths, usually from 1 3/8" to about 2.5". These can be displayed framed or unframed, and can stand on shelves or countertops. If my commission indicates they intend to leave the picture unframed, or is unsure if they will frame it, my preference is to paint pet portraits larger than 5x7 on a 1.5" canvas depth to give them options.
This 1.5" canvas depth works well in a frame with a float edge, or without a frame at all.