Thanks for checking out my portraits page.
More and more I'm getting asked if I do animal portraits - which I'm happy to say I do!
I love capturing the special qualities each animal has, both physical and emotional. Every single living creature in this world is significant; it doesn't matter whether it is some poor thing whose life hasn't been a bowl of cherries or some lucky dog, cat, rabbit, horse, sheep...you name it, who has landed on their feet with someone who really values them. So often we let our egos get in the way of seeing animals for who and what they are or from accepting that to really understand them we need to try to view the world from their perspective sometimes... and give them a break. Animals, nature, the environment - they have a permanent battle on their hands with Homo Sapiens, that's for sure.
When I was a child in Massachusetts in the late 1960s and early 70s we lived on the edge of a forest. There were endless salamanders and frogs and other dark, damp creatures moving through their lives under the moist leaves. There was also a huge variety of beautiful birds - my mother raised a Baltimore Oriol who had fallen out of its nest into our garden, mostly bald except for the odd bit of fluff here and there. We came home late one night from a family holiday to find a stray cat had given birth to a litter of 12 kittens in our garage. We kept them in an old bathtub with their mother until they found homes - one of them with us and our black tomcat, Georgie-Pee. We also had gerbils and fish and later, when we moved to Ireland in 1975 we got dogs - always strays or rescues. We were brought up to love animals and I'm so glad about that; anyone who loves their animal knows that they occupy another, much better, universe - not just the hardened universe of humans and their affairs but another, softer one that brings so much joy and laughter. And when I see people who work with animals that have been abused and neglected, trying to restore them to a decent life, I have so much respect! They allow that ugliness into their beautiful animal universe so that they can try to repair the damage done (let's face it), mostly by humans. People like me and you benefit when we adopt an animal that almost inevitably, sometimes with a bit of time and a little extra patience, turns out to be great and who enhances our lives a hundred-fold.
I know I have rambled on a bit here - I wasn't sure what I was going to say as my intro to the business of animal portraits, but if you are interested in getting one done, do contact me. Prices depend on a variety of things: size and the kind of detail you are looking for, but they generally range from about €200 for something small, up to around €300-€500 for medium sizes and between €600-€800 for larger pieces.
What is involved?
Well, I need lots of good photos. I know you love the photos of your dog or cat snuggling under the duvet or curled up on the couch (so do I), but they don't necessarily make for great portraits. This is something that will be on your wall and that, long after your animal is gone, you'll want to look at and value. I can do snuggly ones too but they need to show the face clearly.
So, lots of photos, face on, profile, sitting, running, sleeping - a variety in other words, so that I can see what the ears are like; are they up, down, pricked, floppy, droopy, semi-pricked, bitten, nibbled, hairy? What their markings are like, what their colours are like, how big are they? The more photos the better. I'm happy to do an exact replica of the photo; let's say you get a great photo of your dog running or swimming, jumping for a Frisbee, or a fantastic photo of your horse and her foal or you showjumping. I can do head and shoulders or the entire body. We can talk about this.
I use copper and vitreous enamel - basically enamel is powered glass fused to metal under extreme heat. I use a kiln for this. I also like using 24kt gold leaf. It is fabulous. The colour is stunning and it is beautifully indulgent.
I do lots and lots of colour tests to make sure I get the coat right. If you want a look more like this Jack Russell, with lots of stencils, I can do that too. If you want a look that has some pencil drawing included, no problem.
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