When people ask what I do for a living, I say I paint pet portraits. This is generally met by surprise & lots of questions.
Once upon a time about 8 years ago my career went in a very different direction & all by accident.
Willow, my gorgeous Labrador is totally to blame for my unconventional occupation & I love her even more for this. I was redecorating my house & thought a painting of her would work really well on the wall in my lounge. At this point my first ever portrait started to emerge.
I had never done a dog portrait before & didn’t even know if I was capable. I had an exhibition a week later & displayed Willow’s portrait there. Needless to say, she got all the attention & my career as a pet portrait artist started to blossom.
I soon turned my attention to promoting myself as a pet portrait artist. I began specialising in dog portraits & exhibiting my work at dog shows.
My first ever dog exhibition was at Crufts in 2007 & I continued to exhibit at Crufts until 2012. Now I have made the decision to attend lots of dog shows, village fete & art markets throughout the year. I love getting out & about at shows & meeting new people. Shows in 2015 are going to be made so much easier with my new van (still to be named), no more squeezing everything in. This will allow for the development of some new products, so watch this space.
My painting style has developed from my love of screen-printing. I studied art in London at Roehampton Institute in a small art department & realised printmaking was for me. I still love printing and this has directly influenced the way I paint. So I paint in much the same style as I print, with a clean edged layered approach. My paintings are in acrylic and I use top quality handmade canvases that are made from sustainable wood and built by a small UK company.
Willow still oversees all my pet portraits and has her spot in my studio. Approaching 11 years old this year, she is the Queen of Sleep these days rather than the Mischief Maker she used to be. The title of Mischief Maker has recently been filled by Little Bea a mini wire haired dachshund. Oh my word, there is so much character crammed into one little dog & she wants to be involved with everything!
I love what I do for a living and I feel very lucky to be a full time artist. Things have gone from strength to strength & I have very happy customers from all over the world. Many customers return to commission further portraits as their furry family expands.