Story (if you have time to read :) )
In my early years I was bullied at school. As we all know, bullied children carry so much emotional baggage. That was the time when I first gained interest in animals; not having so much to do I often visited the local library with the only friend I had.
We read books about animals together and I even borrowed a few home, sometimes the animal images inside were drawings and paintings. I looked at those images, tried to paint them and imagined myself being such a good painter.
Even back then, painting and drawing animals made me feel complete, I just didn’t understand why.
When I was 13 years old I got my first dog, Cindy. I had been nagging my parents for years until the day my mom finally said yes, it took an entire lifetime it seamed. My parents weren’t interested in dogs; in fact, they didn’t understand why having my own dog would make me so happy.
Me, I just wanted a true friend I could always count on.
They still don’t understand. I’m talking about my dogs each time I meet my family, they listen because they know my dogs are a big part of my life, but really, they don’t understand. At the end of the day, they have never felt that kind of love for an animal. They were never emotionally introduced to animals the same way.
Cindy lived a long happy life. We trained obedience, went to dog shows, competed in agility and won a lot of trophies and ribbons together. We took long walks in the forest, played and shared some lovely times together.
I had a darker side though. I seamed so happy, but on the inside I was screaming.
Scared of loosing her one-day, my only true friend. My dog was alive and well, however instead of living in the moment I often mourned her, just like I’ve already lost her. After years of practicing my drawing skills I created a portrait of Cindy. By the time she died, 16 years old, I didn’t shed a tear.
Well, that's because I had already gone through that pain while she was still alive. By the time she died, all I had left of her was the drawing I’ve created. Sure, I had photographs of her, but looking at that drawing was different.
However, I wasn’t aware of the true meaning of it at that time.
Years went by and I had several more dogs after that. I still painted my own dogs and also created some commissioned artwork of other people’s pets every now and then.
Didn’t give it much thought at all, I painted animals for fun and I even got some money for my efforts.
To work as a full-time artist didn’t even cross my mind. It was fun to paint, but that was it. I worked as a designer for years and back then I didn’t give much attention to painting at all.
I thought I was happy. I had a family and a well-paid job.
Then my life suddenly changed. I moved and I couldn’t find a new job, I was unemployed for years. What a waste of time! I had to find something else to do, period! One day I started to paint again and that was when I dared to think of myself as an artist for the first time in my life.
I thought, I could make a living out of painting other people’s pets. It was mostly about the money for me.
No real passion, just another job.
My portraits were nice and I got commissioned all the time. I thought I was doing great and I thought of myself as one of the best. Then suddenly I didn’t get enough commissions to make it work.
This made me think, hard. What went wrong?
How could this happen? I was desperate for answers, but the answers had been there all along. The drawing I created of my first dog Cindy was hanging in my parent’s home. I wanted to throw it away years ago, but my parents who never seamed to understand kept and cherished that drawing for all these years.
One day I walked down the stairs and looked at the portrait, a drawing of my long lost dog. A drawing I had ignored for years. No, the portrait wasn’t created with great precision and skill. But it had a soul. That drawing was created with heart. And that was my turning point…
I decided to find the passion I’ve lost years ago and implement that in my art once again.
I wanted do draw animals with the same love as I did when I was a little bullied child. To create perfect portraits with great precision and skill just isn’t enough, they must have that heart and soul just as that drawing of my own dog have.
Art must be created with passion; otherwise everyone will see through it. The outcome will never be same without the heart; no matter how technically well it’s made.
Learning about your pet, his character and personality before I even draw the first line on my canvas makes it easier for me to paint the spirit behind what makes your pet unique. I’m not only talking about your pet’s visual appearance such as ear shape, coat coloring or weevil placements.
My aim is to capture that unique spirit behind those eyes, the aura and essence no other pet in the world has.
I learned that creating a portrait is not only about immortalizing a pet and hang on a wall, it’s more about celebrating the treasured life you’ve shared together and remembering the role your pet has played in your life.
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