Do you have a faithful animal companion that you'd like to commemorate with a keepsake that forever captures his distinct personality? Pet portraits can be a treasured gift for yourself or for a special animal lover in your life.
Below are some tips to make sure the portrait of your beloved pet turns out perfectly.
1. Find the right artist. Is there a local chamber of commerce or art organization who can provide you with a list of local artists? Check the newspaper for a local art festival to browse many artists in one setting. If you already know of an artist whose style you like, do an online search for their name to find their contact information. Whichever method works for you, make sure you find an artist who specializes in pet portraiture; an artist who paints landscapes or human portraits may not be comfortable painting animals. By the same token, make sure you find an artist who uses a technique that appeals to you - whether that's watercolor, oil, or pastels. Every artist has a different style and method of painting, so be sure you find someone whose style appeals to you, or you won't be happy with the finished product.
2. Know what you want. You found the perfect artist! However, before you contact them, you should be prepared with the details of what you want. Find the best pictures of your pet - the photos should be as large as possible, well lit, and in focus. Make a note of which one is your favorite, and decide if you want the artist to change anything about the picture. For example, if your favorite photo shows your pet relaxing on your living room floor, but you'd prefer an outdoor scene for the background, make sure this is clearly communicated.
3. Beware of digital photos. Just about everyone has a digital camera these days, and many artists will accept digital photos through email. A word of caution, though - colors can differ widely depending on the computer, monitor, software, and printer used. If you only send digital pictures, you may end up being surprised at how significant the color change is in your pet's portrait. If all you have are digital photos, you should first take the files to your local photo store to have them professionally printed to reduce the chance of any color problems. Look over the prints to be sure the coloring is accurate before sending them along to your artist.
4. Size does matter. The next thing to consider is what size painting you want. The price of the painting will vary depending on the size and difficulty of the painting, so be sure you tell the artist what size you would like a quote for, in addition to anything special you want included in the painting. If you're not sure what you can afford, ask the artist for a list of available sizes and the corresponding prices.
5. Timing is everything! Be sure you allow plenty of time for the artist to complete the portrait, affording extra time if the painting has to be shipped to you. Every artist has his or her own technique and schedule, so the time frame to complete a work of art will vary greatly. If the painting is for a special event or holiday, be sure you tell this date to the artist ahead of time. Many artists get a lot busier during the months leading up to Christmas, so you'll want to arrange for your painting as far in advance of the holidays as possible.
6. Spell out payment. Make sure you're aware of what payment methods your artist accepts. Some artists can take credit cards, whereas others are not set up for them. Many artists will require a deposit before painting, with the balance to be paid upon completion of the work. Be sure to discuss whether any portion of the deposit will be refunded in the event that you are not happy with the finished painting. Artists who work in a larger format may want you to sign an agreement that spells out the completion date and how and when the painting will be paid for.
It can be very rewarding to have an original painting of your pet. Whether you're planning on commissioning a portrait of your own pet, or giving one as a gift, a beautiful pet portrait will make the joy and memories of companionship last a lifetime!
Jeanette Fournier is a wildlife artist, who owns Nature%u2019s Way Studio, a fine art studio where she creates original watercolor paintings of animals and nature. She has been creating commissioned animal artwork for over 15 years and one of the hallmarks of her work is her realistic and detailed style of painting. Her artwork hangs in private collections around the United States. To view her artwork, visit her online studio .