Over the weekend, I completed the portrait of the two German shepherds Spike and Rocket. I really enjoyed this piece and am extremely pleased with the outcome, as is the customer who tells me she was in tears when I posted the scan!
Sadly, both of the dogs in this portrait have passed away; one a couple of years ago and the other much more recently, only a few weeks ago. This portrait was commissioned by Gemma as a surprise gift to her husband and on several of my w.i.p photos, she had remarked on how lovely it is to see 'her boys' together again.
Something I try to keep in my mind at all times when I'm working on a portrait is that I'm not just drawing an animal; I'm drawing someone's pet. As a
Potentially, I have done more portraits of animals that have passed away than those that are still with us. It's always very sad when a customer gets in touch and tells me that they recently lost their dog/cat but the very fact that they choose to have a portrait done in memory of said pet, and not only that but they choose ME to do it for them, is a wonderful sentiment and one that I am aware of throughout the whole process. Obviously, I always strive to capture as much of the subject's spirit and character as I can in my drawing; it just helps to remember that, whether the animal is still with us or not, the portrait is going to be a lasting reminder of that furry family member.
I would say that knowing I am creating such a personal piece of art is my biggest inspiration. When I find myself struggling, it really does help to remember that I am drawing an animal that has brought joy to someone's life and that they deserve to have their likeness captured to the highest possible quality. I like to think, or at least I hope, that I do achieve that with my work.
Every time I am commissioned, it is an honour.