A little about myself and how I became a pet portrait artist
I am a self-taught pet portrait UK artist, living in the beautiful County of Pembrokeshire. We have two grown up sons, one living a short distance away and one away in University, but my husband and I now have the company of several dogs and two young cats sharing our home.
I have loved art since I was a child. I’ve always drawn and occasionally dabbled in painting but I have been creative in many other ways. When my boys were small I stitched small toys, made salt dough figures and painted murals of their favourite characters on their walls.
When they were a bit older, I worked in a fabric shop part-time, which led me to making curtains etc. I did this alongside the shop work. I moved on from the shop and started making textile handbags from a studio at home. This continued for about 12 years. These, along with the household accessories I made, were very popular. I built a website and joined a local art and craft group where I sold my work through exhibitions.
My painting journey begins
Around 2016, I was inspired by the work of the artists in the group. As a result of this I tried painting one of my dogs in acrylics, I was hooked. It’s not a particularly good painting, but I was so pleased with it at the time. I then wondered what else I could achieve.
I was still making my textile bags and accessories, as well as selling online and exhibiting with the group. However, this took up a lot of time, days, evenings and weekends.
I did more paintings when I could but it was very slow going. The images below are some of my first pieces.
Over the next couple of years I managed to paint a bit more. I did a few pet portrait UK commissions through word of mouth. These were done in acrylics which are lovely, vibrant, easy to use and quick drying, but they weren’t exactly what I wanted. I found them hard to blend, for example on the sky on the seascape sunset painting. As a result of this I moved onto oils, or, to be precise, alkyd oils. I found that alkyd oil paints suited me much more than acrylics and I still enjoy painting with them.
Experimenting with Mixed Media
In between acrylics and oils, as I had sewn professionally for around 15 years, I started to work with mixed media. I was inspired by a quilt artist who does beautiful work. However, I had never done any quilting, but I started experimenting. I looked at how I could find my own way to work with fabrics and thread to make my pet portraits. I worked on a Kingfisher first and was quite pleased with how it turned out. Then I decided to use a favourite photo of my girl, Poppy, and to do her dog portrait in mixed media.
At the start of 2018 I had problems with my arm, caused by repetitive strain injury through my work. As a result of this, it gave me the push I needed. In August, I was lucky enough to be able to take the scary but great step to fulfilling my dream. I became a full time pet portrait artist.