About My Portraiture

The Johnson family of pets

The Johnson family, all the animals they ever lived with.

They may be ­prizewinners or bedraggled street survivors, but no matter—each is precious and fills our lives with joy. And our animal companions were meant to be shared; we can spend hours recounting memorable moments to fellow pet ­companions.

Animals are fascinating and beautiful, and I enjoy the challenge of creating their likeness on paper in whatever medium suits the event best. My cats are the reason I am an artist today—they inspired me to share them with others in the best way I could, and I have spent years developing my skills and talent with their likenesses.

Cassie and Tyler

Cassie and Tyler, pastel portrait with scenic background

A portrait of your animal companion is different from a photograph; I create a composite portrait from many photos and perhaps a meeting. In doing so, I can remove a background from a scene and add another, include toys or even group animals together in a way they’d never pose. More than a few of the portraits I have created have been memorials to pets who are gone but will never be forgotten. Many have also been portraits of a friend’s or family member’s pet given as a special personalized gift. And in the end, you have a piece of original artwork.

Your pet’s portrait need not be a face forward shot of a classic pose—a good portrait captures the attitude of its subject. It can be a picture of a typical event in your pet’s daily routine, or one of those singular moments you love to tell everyone about. The more interesting, the better it describes your best friend, and the more I enjoy creating it.

Working from your photographs, your custom portrait can include one or more pets and even family members (I do people, too), in pastel, pencil, pen and ink, watercolor or colored pencil. ­Portraits can be any size or shape (within limitations, of course), and you don’t need to have the perfect picture to get the pose you really want; I usually work from several photographs to create one portrait.

Nick's portrait

Nick, pastel portrait with simple color background

And even with a good picture, I usually request a few extra pictures to make sure I can clearly see markings and coloring, and if possible, I like to meet my subjects so that I can get to know their personalities and snap a few more ­pictures.

Read more about my commissioned portraits on my website at Portrait Demonstration, and see some finished portraits at Commissioned Cats and Commissioned Dogs.

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