5 reasons pet portraits should be artsy

Artists who specialize in realism are very impressive. I have seen some jaw dropping, amazingly realistic, pet portraits. There are also some spectacular photos of animals taken by very talented fine art photographers. If you want, you can frame these very realistic- exact images of your animal friend and hang it on your walls. But maybe something a bit more impressionistic and artsy suits you!

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5 reasons pet portraits should be artsy:

1) The style of the art contributes to the overall style of the room. Consider the decor and mood you want to create in your home.

2) Different styles of art can influence your mood. My artwork is happy. The colors pop and the textures are whimsical. Happy art can make your day.

3) Interesting art leads to interesting conversations. Have something to talk about with your house guests. 

4) Stylized art can capture the spirit of your animal friend. It isn't about a realistic image of the animal, it is about the individual beauty shining through.

5) You love it! Hey, you don't need a profound reason- maybe you just really art and really love your animal- putting the two together makes sense.

Choosing the perfect reference photo

When I draw pet portraits, I follow the reference photo exactly in terms of the animal's position and expression. (Of course my stylized art adds a flare in terms of texture and color.) It is important to send me a reference photo that truly captures the essence of your animal friend. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a photo reference of your pet:

1) Overall vibe. Are you looking to portray them as playful, wild, peaceful, sweet, intense, etc? Look at photos of your animal and notice which aspect of them is most represented. Is this what you want to come through in the finished work?

My cat Owen can look playful, "insane", or peaceful. 

My cat Owen can look playful, "insane", or peaceful. 

2) Consider the angle of viewing. Are you looking down at the animal? Typically the best reference photo is taken when the camera (person) is eye level rather than standing over the pet. 

Getting down to the rabbit's eye level is much more personable than a photo from above.

Getting down to the rabbit's eye level is much more personable than a photo from above.

There are exceptions to every rule right? I love the shot from above of this pit mix. It captured her perfectly.

There are exceptions to every rule right? I love the shot from above of this pit mix. It captured her perfectly.

3) The crop. It is usually best to have all of the animal's face showing. We can crop it down if artistically warranted, but it is difficult to draw what is beyond the photo. 

This is a super sweet photo of my cat, but it is cropped very tight. It would be better as a reference photo if we had the rest of the head and ears.

This is a super sweet photo of my cat, but it is cropped very tight. It would be better as a reference photo if we had the rest of the head and ears.

4) The quality of the photo is important. I need to be able to zoom in and see details in the eyes and accurate coat color.

Henry to the left has clear, bright, and in-focus features. This is a good quality reference. The center photo is dark but can be lightened and has good features so I could work with it. To the right Henry is dark, blurry and it is hard to determine his coat pattern. This photo would not work as a reference.

Henry to the left has clear, bright, and in-focus features. This is a good quality reference. The center photo is dark but can be lightened and has good features so I could work with it. To the right Henry is dark, blurry and it is hard to determine his coat pattern. This photo would not work as a reference.

When in doubt, email me a bunch of photos and I will coach you on choosing or taking the best reference photo of your animal. If the animal is deceased we will work together to find a photo that I can work from even if the quality is not perfect.

South Carolina: Tailgating

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Next stop on The Great American Road Trip... South Carolina in a vintage Jeep!

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I created this for my brother-in-law. He likes jeeps and I had been wanting to draw one so that was a great bonus. After I drew the Jeep I knew I wanted the background to be about football. He played in college at Wofford in South Carolina. (I forgot to mention the school colors are gold and black- so that is why I did the yellow jeep.) I was excited about adding the personal details to the drawing such as the W on the cooler and the "Wofford" painted on the field.

I look forward to creating more personalized car portraits.

See you at the next stop, Dawn

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New York: Times Square

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Next stop on The Great American Road Trip... New York in a 1937 Graham Street Rod!

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I love the idea of loving NYC, but I can't deny I have had a panic attack every time I go there. I guess I am just a country girl at heart. When I was young my dad took me there and his truck broke down on bridge (full of traffic). I think I never got over that!

Good thing The Great American Road Trip is a fantasy road trip. This way I get to see the colorful fun NYC of my dreams and I don't have to be stuck on a bridge hyperventilating! Here it is, Times Square in all its colorful glory.

See you at the next stop, Dawn

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Massachusetts: Fall Foliage

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Next stop on The Great American Road Trip... Massachusetts in a 1970 Sting Ray Corvette!

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I know I am supposed to be on a road-trip and yet I keep drawing pictures of my home state. I guess we can agree in this case the artist draws what "she" (me) knows! 

I grew up on in a house on the corner of two dirt roads in Western Massachusetts. One road went uphill quite steeply and had beautiful folliage every fall. When I saw this blue Corvette I thought it would look beautiful with orange, and the owner of the car suggested fall foliage! Perfect I think!

See you at the next stop, Dawn

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