Do you work from life?
Not when I am painting animal portraits–they don’t sit still long enough to capture the details I prefer to include in a portrait, so I like to work from photographs.
Do you work post-mortem?
I do. However, it may be challenging to paint the level of detail I am known for. Each job will be different and dependent upon the photos that are available.”
How do we take the right photographs?
I have written out very specific instructions regarding the photographs and encourage my clients to be patient with the process because it will dictate the quality of the finished painting. Quality art is very much about lighting, which affects the color and shape description. For example, think about a drawing of a snowman. If he is all white, then he appears to be a simple line drawing, but add a little shadow under each part of his body, under the hat, carrot nose and add a cast shadow on the ground, then suddenly he comes to life. I need to have optimal light conditions in the photographs that I use to create your pet’s portrait.
How long will it take?
Once we settle on the composition, then it will take approximately two months to paint and another week or two for proofing and shipping. The holiday season begins in August and I usually stop promising work for Christmas on or around the end of October. I do offer Gift Certificates and am more than happy to place “Surprise” phone calls to the gift recipient.
Is it framed?
I do not ship framed art due to the potential damage, it really is safer shipped unframed in my special packaging.
Is it sprayed?
No. I never spray my work and strongly discourage the practice. Once a pastel is framed under glass, then you have done the best thing possible to protect it and as with all works of art, the glass should not be touching the work. Framers have several methods at their disposal to accomplish this. I do have a sad story to support my dislike for spraying: A student of mine allowed a framer to spray three paintings she had produced, in each painting the background consisted of finger smudges, so the paint was very thin. Once sprayed, the smudges were completely gone, diminishing the integrity of the art.
How big is the painting?
I strongly encourage the portrait be painted as close to life size as possible. When we go larger, then it can start to take on a cartoon look and a portrait of smaller size loses impact.
How do you decide what color the background should be?
I always involve the client in this decision and my recommendation is to hold samples of each paper color next to the animal or the photo of the animal. In most cases the decision is quite obvious.
Is it archival? How long will it last?
The quality pastels that I use are made from the same pigment material as quality oil paints are–they just haven’t added the oil. So, the color quality will last for generations. And the fact that it is framed under glass will protect it from environmental damage.