The creative journey of an artist inspired by animals and life by the sea

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Making Customers Happy

I met up with a customer to deliver a long awaited commission of her cats as a Christmas surprise for her husband. I always have a little anxiety when showing finished paintings. I worry if it really captures the spirit and vision of the animal that the person has in their mind. Many artists refuse to do commissions for this very reason. There is always a chance that when you reveal the painting after all your hard work, they may not be happy with the results. It has to produce that instant recognition of what they remember as their cherished pet. For me as an artist, there is nothing like that first rush of emotion I see in their eyes when I show them the painting. It is such a feeling of accomplishment, and all the anxiety vanishes when I see the tears in their eyes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Painting Dogs

I delivered a long awaited portrait commission yesterday of a Scottish Deerhound to a wonderful couple. When I knocked on the door, I knew they had lost not only "Ellie", but also another older Deerhound while waiting for the portrait. They had gotten a new puppy about 7 months ago and also had one other 12 year old dog. I was immediately greeted by what appeared to be an adult. It is unusual for a deerhound to be so exuberant with strangers, so I realized it was their new puppy "Penelope". The couple then told me they had to put their older dog to sleep last week. They had lost three of their beloved dogs in less than a year. The sadness of that was replaced by the new puppy who captured your heart right away. After lots of kisses she quickly retired to the couch in typical Deerhound style.

When I unwrapped the painting, I had my usual nervousness as to whether it would capture the essence of the dog they loved so much. They looked in silence then both expressed how much they loved it. I think they were holding back tears because of the flood of memories it brought back. The daily walks on the beach and how she would love sleeping on their bed. Anyone that has dogs in their lives knows the feeling well when we lose them. We lose a part of our own heart and vow never to go through it again. Yet, we shortly welcome another puppy or rescue into our lives to once again give us the unconditional love that only a dog can give. They decided to "hide" the painting from puppy Penelope so she would not decide it was an early Christmas gift to unwrap. She had once again filled their hearts with love and the joy of owning a dog.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Simple Life

I recently completed this commission of a beautiful restored farmhouse in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It was once the home of a wonderful woman I know who is now 91. She spent her childhood there, living a simple life. My husbands parents and his childhood were also spent on beautiful farm properties such as this one. His early childhood and teen years were spent working on a 90 acre dairy farm in Coopersburg, Pa. His father also owned a 60 acre farm where they farmed corn, hay, soybean, and wheat. Eventually, development took over the farms in the area and it made more sense to sell property to home builders. Most of the old stone farmhouses are now owned by people who have the means to maintain and restore them. I believe that is what an old stone farmhouse deserves, but it is still sad to see the area and the simple way of life changed so dramatically.