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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Painting pet portraits

by Sharon Whitley the Rambling Artist

Animals are probably my favourite things to paint - I love watching them come to life before my eyes on the paper and really try to capture their characters and expression, especially with pets - one thing is getting a likeness, but capturing their character is something else, which is why I was pleased with my painting of Holly, as I felt I'd 'captured' her.  A couple of months ago I wanted to do something special for a friend of mine who I go walking in the Lake District with.  She has a gorgeous dog called Kimmi who is very special to her -  knowing how much she means to her I decided to try and paint Kimmi but really wanted to get not just a likeness but to capture her personality on paper.  I always start portraits with the eyes whether they be humans or animals - for me if you get the eyes right, the rest will follow, they are the soul of a painting and bring it to life.   I took some WIPs of Kimmi while I was painting her so thought I'd include them here if anyone is interested in how I go about a painting.  I tend to work a lot wet in wet and work my way through bit by bit rather than layering.

I felt I'd captured Kimmi in this painting but there was only one person who could confirm it and that was Kimmi's owner and I was thrilled when she said how much she liked it.  This is what she said in a message to me

'I have to say that I've always been sceptical about pets being painted because if their 'personality' isn't in the painting they can be disappointing. The painting of Kimmi is totally outstanding, seriously, I can't get over it, it makes me fill up!

Well you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear that! Mind you Kimmi herself doesn't look overly impressed!

A photo of Kimmi with Kimmi!

Tomorrow Gary and I are off to Chester Zoo, him to take some wildlife photos from which I will probably do a few paintings but I'll also take along my sketch pad and pencils and maybe watercolours and try out a bit of plein air sketching!  Hopefully it won't rain - but then again it is a Friday, my day off, so it's bound to!!

As always comments are welcome


  1. Hi Sharon. This is a lovely piece. You have a real talent for portraits, both animal and human. Ah, happy memories of the annual primary school trip to Chester Zoo. Enjoy, it's the best zoo around by far. Hope to see some sketches soon ;)


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