The surprising thing I learned about people while painting dog portraits
Believe it or not, people love their dogs.
You already knew that?
Okay, yes that one is pretty obvious.
I thought the same thing. But you know what - there is a ton more that I discovered about people and their dogs after jumping into the art world of painting dog portraits.
I had no idea.
Just to give you some context, I’ll give you a peanut-sized nutshell of my story. In what now feels like a lifetime ago, I used to work in landscape architecture, designing and drawing landscapes. We had kids, I stayed home to raise the little rascals. At one point, I started to draw dogs as a way to brush up on my drawing skills again.
Little did I know what a wonderful, quirky path that would be. As hard as it is to admit - dogs were way cuter and more fun to draw. I could not resist the dogs (or cats). It turned into a side business and I was soon painting gorgeous, goofy, sweet dogs for people all over the U.S. and the world.
I tell you all this because I had no idea how crazy people are for their pets. And by crazy, I mean generous, fun, and family oriented. Even though I have shared most of my life with family dogs, little did I fully appreciate what we know as The Dog World.
A pattern begins to emerge.
After awhile, I started to see a pattern of why people would commission a portrait.
I was surprised by how many people commissioned me to paint a pet portrait as a gift. Of course, it worked out fantastically well when the gift was for their partner and Puppers was the family dog.
The pet portrait paintings are not an impulse buy. In fact, they can be quite spendy.
People would contact me to paint a pet portrait of their sister’s dog or their dad’s dog. Sometimes it would be the wife who wanted to give a special gift to her husband on his birthday. Other times it would be a sister who would commission a portrait of her brother’s dog.
And I would think, "Oh MAN, is that a nice sister."
I was actually impressed by how many sisters gave their brothers a pet portrait for Christmas or their birthday.
When dog portraits are more than about the dog
The unexpected thing that I saw first hand from painting dog portraits is how incredibly thoughtful people are and how they want to delight their loved ones with a meaningful gift.
Even though, Puppers is gorgeous enough to have their portrait up on the wall for the sheer beauty of their happy face, I realized the paintings are more than about the dog.
They’re about family, connection, and love.
Oftentimes, when given as a present, the portraits are about showing someone how special they are by giving them a highly meaningful and unique gift.
So, that’s what I learned about people from painting dog portraits.
Dogs are an important part of our lives and families.
We are important to each other.
It’s a nice way to show our love for each other.
It’s a nice way to be reminded of that love.
Even through art, dogs bring out the best in us.
As a pet portrait artist, I've had the privilege to witness this first hand.
It’s been a most delightful discovery.