By Diane Matsuura, CANIDAE Customer Service
This is the true story on how my Labrador Retriever, Taylor, got her portrait painted, but first I need give you a little bit of background information. My very good girlfriend of 20 plus years, Trudy Soneson, is an artist. She creates lovely paintings in oils. I am a photographer. I can photograph anything but I can’t paint, even walls with a roller, without making a mess. I have always been in awe of those who can create art by drawing and painting. I digress, so let’s get back to the story. Taylor always loved to curl up in our patio chairs like a person to take a nap, and one evening she was curled up in her favorite chair in her favorite position watching us while we were eating dinner. Trudy and Eric (her husband) were our dinner guests that evening.
Trudy, the artist she is, was inspired and said, “Take her picture and I’ll paint her.” Jumping at the chance to have a portrait painted of my dog, I quickly snapped the photo through the patio door. The photo didn’t turn out so well, seeing that the screen was also in the way, the glass was dirty with paw prints and it was getting dark. However, Trudy’s finished painting of Taylor was so perfect and did justice to my beloved dog in a way that my photo never could. Several years later Taylor passed away, and to have this perfect memory of her on that evening, preserved forever on canvas, means more to me than words can ever express.
I decided to write an article about Trudy – how and why she paints pet portraits – and share her thoughts with our readers here at the Responsible Pet Ownership blog. So here it is – her interview with me conducted at the CANIDAE office.
Question: How do you start a portrait, and do you need anything special?
Trudy: I want a clear photo of the pet with a good natural light source that emphasizes the bone structure and fur, especially around the face and eyes. It’s very important to see the eyes because the eyes show the character of the pet more than anything else. Multiple angles and positions are very helpful.
Q: How long does it take you to paint a portrait?
T: As a client you will need to be patient. Painting the portrait takes time. I like to have the client view the unfinished portrait during different stages. You want the client to be happy. They know their pet the best. For example, how they hold their ears, tail, etc., and it’s easier to make changes in the painting in the early stages.