Lend Character With A Pet Portrait

It used to be that having racehorse portraits or paintings of prized purebred dogs hanging on the walls was a sign that the homeowner was affluent. But no more—today, even the middle-class young and hip are commissioning portraits of their beloved pets and incorporating the paintings into their home decor.

Personal Relevance

It seems that pet portraits are all the rage, and why not? These paintings add a personal relevance to the interior of your home. A wall graced with a pet portrait reflects the unique qualities of the family who lives within the home. When you display a portrait of your pet front and center, this shows that he is an important part of your life.

A good pet portraitist attempts to capture the quirky characteristics that make your pet one-of-a-kind. One such artist is Tara Narbonne, who of late, has been flooded with requests for her paintings of dear family pets. Narbonne says that having a pet painted for posterity means that one's pet isn't just a garden variety sort of dog, but rather part and parcel of the family. Wherever one sees such a portrait, a statement has been issued: this family loves this pet.

Human Characteristics

When Narbonne begins a new portrait, she starts by having the family send her a photo of the animal. This is followed by an interview of the pet-owner. Narbonne hopes to glean information that will help her portrait surpass any photograph for expressing the animal's singular charms. "Ask anyone about their pet and they’ll always describe it using human characteristics," she says. " … I always ask questions and try to get to know the animal a little bit … It helps make the portrait that much more unique and meaningful."

Commissioning a custom portrait gives you the ability to specify the style, shape, color, and size of the painting so that it will best complement your home décor. Because this is custom work, you have quite a bit of control over the outcome. Narbonne states that she is happy to create any background her clients might desire. In the case where the customer has several pets, but they refuse to cooperate for a posed photo, the artist has no problem using several photos as a reference so a group pet portrait can be painted.

Ideal Spots

Once you decide to commission a pet portrait, you'll need to decide where the painting will hang. This will help you decide on the portrait background and the colors that you wish to be incorporated by the artist. Some ideal spots for a pet portrait include:

*Over the hearth


*In the living room of a country home or cottage


*Over a dog bed