WHy I Paint Pet Portraits
“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”
~ John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog
"Fiona, you paint love " a client once said to me.
I was speechless for a few seconds as my brain processed what she had said. "Wow," I thought, "I paint love...I paint love." It was so profound, and suddenly I realized that yes, it was the truth.
Those four little words changed forever how I feel & think about the portraits I create, and the people who commission them. I guess I had known it in a vague sort of way, but it wasn't until she spoke those four words, that it became crystal clear.
Don’t tell a pet owner “It’s just a dog, or it’s just cat.” You’ll be told in no uncertain terms that they are SO much more than that. The animals that we are blessed to share our lives with are such sweet souls. We invite them into our homes and they proceed to steal our hearts utterly & completely. The pure love that we have for each other is without a doubt one of life’s most precious gifts.
All around me, every day, I see evidence of that pure love. From the warm fleece dog jacket lovingly placed on a Jack Russell terrier in the back of the open Jeep next to me at a traffic light, to the massive carpeted castles purchased at great cost to keep a doted upon cat amused, to the specially ordered treat given to a cherished horse for no other reason than he is adored, it’s plain to see that we pet owners are smitten with our animals.
I consider myself one of the luckiest artists in the world. When I speak to a client about their pet, I’m witness to joy & happiness. As I paint the earnest, trusting, beautiful faces of the creatures that are held so dear, I truly feel the depth of love between my clients and their special animals - and I share that love. I connect with that love. I am touched by that love and my paintings become part of that love.
Every portrait I create of someone’s pet, horse or pet bird is a labor of love. I am extremely mindful that these paintings are deeply personal. The portrait will forever conjure treasured memories of a furry or feathered family member and will become a source of comfort long after the animal has passed on. I paint with great care & reverence to respect everything the portrait will mean to the owner.
I consider it a great honor and a privilege to be chosen to create a cherished work of art that represents so much.
Yes, what my client said was true, I do paint LOVE, and it’s the highest compliment I will ever receive.