Pet Portraits by Melanie & Nicholas

Pet Portraits From Photos

pet portraits
Follow a Live Pet Portrait Commission...

Flora Brumby and her family contacted us in 2010 to ask if we would paint their beautiful Blonde Hovawart 'Stig'. They didn't know how they wanted the portrait to look, so they sent over a number of photos to see what we thought. Below is a shortened version of Floras first email to us, to give you an idea of how clients make their first contact.
 

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Dear Melanie and Nick,

We would like a portrait of our Rare blonde Hovawart and I have enclosed photos. Also there are a couple of images of my home territory in Scotland I wonder if they are helpful? I hope that this would allow some flexibility for you to enjoy undertaking the work. I can arrange more photographs of Stig who shows at Crufts and enjoys agility etc. If you think that it could be useful I can also arrange a professional to take photographs if my attempts are not up to standard.

I appreciate your help.
Kind regards
Flora Brumby.

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The Photos

Flora sent us a wide number of photos and I have included a few below. The first is of Stig playing happily o the beach, one of him laying down in the garden, a close up of his head and a full body in the garden. The thing that really stood out for us both was how happy Stig looks in all of his photos. This needed to come across in the painting. Scroll down to see how we created the mockups for Flora to view.
stig on the beach
stig on the beach
stig on the beach stig on the beach

 

The Mockups

We had a couple of ideas for Flora and her family to see, one was using the photo of Stig lying in the garden and the other sitting up. The overriding idea was to use the amazing panoramic photo of the beach which is near Flora's home. This would then place Stig in a setting, a familiar place to the whole family.

We created what we call a 'mock-up' to help us and Flora visualize the final painting. Using photo editing software (Photoshop), we are able to place Stig in a different scene or on a neutral background if requested, removing things from the background as we go. We have been known to create up to 15 mockups for some clients to make sure we get the right background / photo / composition for the portrait. Clients will hopefully be admiring the painting for many years to come, so this stage is very important, it has to be right.

As you can see from the mockups, it is obvious that we have joined two photos together, particularly with the sitting pose, however this is only to give clients an idea visually how the painting could look. The mockups are a general guide as to the placement, but things like the patterning of the grass wouldn't be painted identical to the mockup.

pet portraits mockup
mockup pet portraits
 

Client and the Mockups

Flora emailed us her response to both mockups and you can read it below. The portrait orientation mockup with Stig sitting up is the amended mockup as referred to in Floras email.

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Hi Melanie,

Brilliant!!!

I would like the sitting up pose without it being so closely cropped with more of the actual landscape around him. .... Oils please and it will take pride of place above the fireplace so 30 x 24 will be fine. Framing with advice can be sorted out later.

Thank you

Flora.

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The Deposit and Our Client List

Once Flora had okayed the mockup she paid her deposit using our order section on our website. All clients need to place a deposit to secure a placed in our client list on our 'studio diary' and we request approximately half of the total cost of the portrait. We then place Flora and Stigs mockup in our client list on our studio diary which can always be viewed on line and can be accessed from our top navigation at all times. It was then just a case of waiting for stig to rise to the top so Nick could start to paint! When Stig did get to the top, Flora emailed below....

 

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Hi Melanie,

I have been checking your blog daily as I could see we may be next!!

Nick must not change his soap or diet and get loads of sleep in order to continue with this masterpiece!

Thank you for the work so far.
Cheers,
Flora

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The Portraits Stage on our Studio Diary

When Nick started to paint, Flora and her family were able to watch the portrait develop and I have added a few stages below to give you an idea of what they saw. Usually we will have between 5 to 10 stages of our oil paintings depending on size and complexity.
stig on the beach

The Final Scan

Once the painting was complete we scanned the portrait into the computer and emailed Flora a final scan. We received a wonderful email from Flora which you can read below.We have also added a final scan for all to see here.

 

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Hi Melanie,

Thank Nick for me, the picture looks splendid I am looking forward to seeing the detail in real life. My husband has asked me to request that you place two distant images of the boys on the beach in the background to further personalise the piece but I am loathe to "interfere" further. The work has already surpassed my expectations.

I love the web site and researched for a long time before contacting you directly. The transition of progress on each piece as the work is underway are a very inviting confirmation of your skills and so is the friendly professionalism of your personal blog.

Do not go on an exclusive errand for the frame we are happy to wait until you are ready as there is no particular deadline ... just excitement at the prospect of arrival. We have no set notion of framing, gold would be a safe bet with our fixtures if you see something you think might be fab' let me know.

Take care
Cheers,
Flora

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stig on the beach
 
Bespoke Framing

Flora requested her portrait to be framed in a gold frame and we have a wonderful framer Jane who frames all of our portraits for us. Along with Flora's input we chose the 'Gold Dots' frame which works beautifully with green grass and landscapes. It also bought out the rich tones of Stigs coat too.
live pet portraits commission
Prints

Flora ordered a print for her brother and we had this framed in the same gold dots frame.
gold dogs frame for pet portraits
pet portraits framed
 

Packing of the Portraits

 

We emailed Flora photos of the portraits framed and she was delighted, you can see both portraits below ready for packing. We arranged the best time to send the paintings with Flora so that she could make sure a member of their family was home to sign for them. We packed the portraits and arranged delivery, a courier came to our studio to collect the paintings, and once on their way they were delivered to Flora's door in the UK within 24 hours. Scroll down for Floras reply!

packing pet portraits
 

The Portraits Arrival...

The portraits arrived safe and sound and Flora emailed as soon as the package arrived. Flora also took some photos of Stig when the painting and print was opened, and I have included them below. Floras email was entitled.'.The moment we opened the package'!

 

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Hi Melanie and Nick,

The portrait arrived this morning.
It is FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!
We are honoured to have it in our home.
We have a high interest in modern art and this is a superb addition.
I will send some photo's soon!!
Cheers
Flora
X

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blonde hovawart happy pet portraits client
blonde hovawart happy pet portraits client
blonde hovawart happy pet portraits client
blonde hovawart happy pet portraits client
blonde hovawart happy pet portraits client
 

Happy pet Portraits Clients

 

We would like to thank Flora for allowing us to use Stig on our website for our live commission example and also thank you Stig too! If you have any questions about our commissioning process and would like to email us photos of your pet for a portrait similar to Stig's please don't hesitate to email us at any time. Visit our contact page for more details.

 

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Hi Melanie and Nick,
We are so very thrilled with the piece and honoured to have Stig featured on your web site. Thank you once again for the time and care spent to reach such a happy result.
Cheers
Flora X

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