Saturday, October 20, 2012

Nellie and Bailey

Nellie & Bailey

When I went to the home where Nellie and Bailey live, I met two playful and highly active dogs. My assignment was to take a photo of both of them together so I could create a painting. This was commissioned by their adoring human mom, Patsy, so she could give this to her husband as a surprise birthday gift. Taking the photo of 2 dogs running and chasing each other was not a simple task. I asked Patsy to sit on the couch and hold both of them. This worked! I shot several images, Some photos had blurry heads because these two moved so much. But that didn't stop me!  When I got back to the studio, I surveyed all the photos. I selected one where their body positions were perfect but Nellie was looking to the left, not straight ahead as I wanted. I went through the rest of the images and found one where Nellie's head was looking straight ahead and in focus! In the painting, I replaced Patsy with the couch and painted a new head on Nellie. Pictured above is the final painting. Below is one of the photos. Mom was thrilled with the painting and Dad was happily surprised with his treasured gift. Of course, Nellie and Bailey liked the painting too.

One of the photos used to paint Nellie & Bailey

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fun loving Lucy


Painting: "Lucy–8 mos" 10" x 8",  oil/wax on  canvas, 2012
Photo of Lucy
It all started when I heard about PAWS in the Park, a 50th anniversary festival for PAWS, a rescue and shelter in Norwalk, CT. I offered a gift certificate for an 8" x 10" painting of a pet, head and shoulders, with a simple background to be iincluded in the raffle drawing.

I enjoy doing this as it is a rewarding way for me to use my gift of capturing animals on canvas to help raise funds for worthy animal causes. As it turned out, after talking about the festival with the fund raiser, I offered to take a booth and paint one of the adoptable  dogs from the shelter during the time of the festival. I went to the shelter a week prior to the event, and selected Lucy, a sweet-as- they-come mix with a blue eye and a brown eye. I took photos of her and used them as my reference for the painting.  I started the painting before the day of the festival, painted it from 11 to 3 at the festival and finished it during the week after the event.  The lucky parents who adopt Lucy will receive this painting as a gift.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Portrait Commission of Barbara

This is the portrait I mentioned a few blogs back. Obviously it took me a while to complete! Partly due to other projects that I've been working on also. And then, when I mailed it by FedEx, it it was lost for 6 days. The doorman accidently put the FedEx package with the UPS packages, and couldn't find it. It was a very trying time for me to say the least. But, it was found and finally got into the hands of its owner. The painting is done in oil ith wax medium on linen, 20" x 16."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sophie's Story

I was shopping in an upscale, clothing consignment store where I lived, in Columbia, MD. I noticed an adorable, white, toy poodle hanging around. When I went to the front desk to make my purchase, I asked Jane, my saleswoman, "Is this your dog?" She told me that they were watching it for one of the sales people there who had to go out for a while. Naturally, I told her that I did paintings of pets and asked her if she could pass on my contact information to the dog's owner. She was very enthusiastic and took my card. A few months later, about 3 weeks before Christmas, I got a call from Jane. The sales personnel decided to chip in and commission me to paint a portrait of the store owner's dog, Sophie, for her Christmas present. Typically, I ask for 4 weeks to do a painting, but they wanted it as a Christmas present. It had to be done a less than 3 weeks. On a day when the store owner wasn't home, I went to her house, met her husband, and took a bunch of photos of Sophie. Then he selected one of them and I got to work.

It was right before Christmas. The plan was that I should come to the store in the evening, towards closing and deliver the painting to Jane. I got to the store a half hour before closing. All the sales help were there as this night was their little holiday party. The shop owner's husband and Sophie were there too. They asked me to pretend to be shopping so when the owner came in, she wouldn't think it was unusual that  a stranger was hanging around. Even her husband and Sophie pretended they didn't know me.

The owner arrived and all the sales help gathered around her and presented her with a gift-wrapped present. When she unwrapped the box and saw the painting, she was surprised, delighted and touched so deeply that she cried. She could not get over the likeness of the painting. She commented that the colors of Sophie's fur in the painting matched the dog's coat perfectly. It was such a beautiful moment. Then Jane called me over and introduced me to the owner. We all hugged as if we were long lost family. Even Sophie got a few extra head rubs and hugs. It was a Christmas, I will never forget.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Another opening, another show

On Wednesday, July 13th, from 4-6, we had our artist reception for 4 Artists - 4 Journeys. It was a great success. I have 8 of my recent works with their poems in the exhibit. Guests responded well to both paintings and poems. We had lots of conversations. It is always rewarding when a guest really takes time to look at your work, reads the poems and tells you their responses and thoughts. It feels great to know they "got it." Since the show is right next to the mayor's office in Danbury City Hall, I met the mayor. He shook my hand and told me he loved all the paintings and wanted to buy all of them, but he didn't have any money. Oh well, that's life in the little city of Danbury. I got a chance to catch up with my artist friend, Elizabeth, which was really fun as well as my former dance classmate, Richard. I also met some new people. After the reception, I followed Elizabeth in my car to a little restaurant on Main Street so we could chat some more.  It was an enjoyable, stress-free event. Now onto the next paintings....

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's been awhile

Since I first posted this blog, I haven't written in it because my first post is intended for everyone to get an idea of the quality of my pet paintings and how I work. A lot is happening in my artistic life. I paint allegorical stylized landscapes when not painting commissioned work. These works are exhibited in juried, gallery and museum shows when I am graced with that opportunity. On July 11 through August 4, my recent landscapes will be in a 4-person show at the Danbury City Hall in Danbury, CT. The artist reception is July 13 between 4 and 6pm. If you are in Danbury, please stop by and introduce yourself to me at the reception. At this time, I am finalizing the 5 or so paintings that will be in this show and finishing these paintings' poems which will also be in the show.

I have just been commissioned to paint a portrait of my long time, best-friend, girlfriend. I have done drawings of her before and have painted 2 of her cats. This commission will be fun because I haven't painted a human face in a while!  She has great confidence in me and I really appreciate that. Stay tuned to see it when it is completed.  If you want to see my landscapes please visit my website: If you want to check in to see what I am up to with these paintings, visit my Artist Project blog:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pet Portraits

(Corky wasn't sitting on the rug in the photo. I painted the rug under her.)


I paint portraits of animal companions on a commissioned basis. Although I have painted mostly dogs and cats, I can paint horses, birds and reptiles-- any animal. I capture the essence of the animal. My paintings have brought tears of joy to many pet owners when they first see the painting of their pet.

I work from your photo(s) of your animal companion. You may have a photo that is your favorite pose of your animal companion but the details may not be in focus, or the pet’s coloring may be off. If this is your situation, provide additional photos for additional reference.

Lovey & Reggie
This painting was created using two photos. The cat  (Lovey) passed away long ago. The owner wanted a painting with both. I used the photo of Lovey on the chair (supplied by the client) and added Reggie to the composition in the painting. I shot the photos of Reggie at a park since this was a surprise anniversary present from the husband to his wife.

If you do not have a photo, ask a friend to shoot photos for you while you distract or sit with your pet. It is a lot easier for someone other than the pet owner to shoot the photos. If you live in the Danbury, CT area, I can come to your home and shoot digital images. There is an additional fee for this service.

Belissima I & II

Once I have the photos with the selected pose, estimate approximately 4-6 weeks until you receive the completed painting.
Allen's Angel

Museum Quality

Your painting is done in oil paint with a wax medium specifically designed  for use with oils on archival cotton duck canvas which has been gallery-wrapped around the sides of thick stretchers. The sides are painted by the artist as well. The painting comes ready for hanging with a wire on the back. There is no need to frame the painting.

Best Friends
What Do You Want?
Is this for yourself or a gift? How big a painting do you want? Do you want head and shoulders only or full body? How many pets do you want in the painting? Do you want the background to be an interior or exterior scene. For example, your pet’s favorite chair. Once you know what you want, it is easy to figure the fee.
Some of my clients have contributed with family members or co-workers to commission a painting as a gift for a birthday, anniversary or retirement. The smallest size portrait is one pet, head and shoulders with a simple background on an 8' x 10" gallery-wrapped canvas. The size of painting, whether the painting is full body or several pets, or whether the background is simple or complex affects the fee. The more you get, the bigger the investment. Feel free to contact me to discuss what you are envisioning and your budget so I can help you decide what is best for you.


Payment Terms 
A deposit of 1/2 is due upon your order. Balance is due upon delivery. I will email you a digital image of your completed painting along with shipping costs if you are out of the area. Once I receive your payment, I will send the painting by FedEx or UPS. If you are local, I will deliver it. There is Connecticut Sales Tax for Connecticut residents.

Nellie & Bailey

Caring For Your Painting  
As with any original art (or fine print), your painting should be hung where it will not be in direct sunlight or under fluorescent light. This type of lighting can, over time, fade colors. If you decide to have the painting set in a frame, oil paintings are not put behind glass. If, for some reason, you should choose to put it behind glass, the glass should not come in contact with the painted surface. As tempting as it may be, avoid touching the surface with your fingers. The oil in your hands can deteriorate the paint over time. If the painting is not hung, it is best to keep it wrapped in acid free paper. If the painting ever gets damaged, please give  me the opportunity to repair it first before going to another artist.

To dust use a dry clean soft cotton cloth, or clean soft natural bristle brush. Gently wipe or lightly brush off dust.

Reproduction Rights
Once paid in full, you will own the physical work of art. I maintain ownership of the copyright. This means that only the artist has the right to reproduce or sell this image for monetary gain. However, I usually give the pet owner permission, if desired, to reproduce the image for your family and friends on personal stationery, as long as it is for personal use and not for monetary gain. If you reproduce the image for this purpose, please put a credit of my name on the printed piece.

Mr. Gray