Q How long will it take to do a pet portrait for me?
A This depends on my waiting list, it is usually just a few weeks but in busier times like Christmas you may want to get your orders in earlier. You can subscribe to my mailing list to be the first to know when I start taking commission orders for Christmas.
Q What do you use to make the portrait?
A I use Windsor & Newton watercolours on water colour paper, usually something like Fabriano.
Q How do you paint my pet?
A I paint from the photographs that you provide me. Firstly I draw the animal out in pencil and then I begin by putting the lightest colours and gradually working it up in layers.
Q What format do you need the photographs in?
A Preferably digital, so something like jpeg, or tiff for example. If you have a large quantity of photos you want to send then you might want to put them in a zip folder to take up less space when emailing. Please provide the photographs in a large size if you can, smaller photos are much harder for me to see the details on so I wont be able to paint the same detail into your pet portrait.
Q What makes a good photo for you to paint from?
A See my post on this: photographing-pets-for-painting.
Ideally I want a photo that is crisp and taken in good, natural lighting so I can see as much detail as possible. The best light to take a portrait photo in is in the shade outside on a bright day. Direct sunlight can create highlights and over exposure and so lose some of the detail and indoor lighting can obscure the colouring in the photo. If you can, turn the flash off on your camera as this can make your pet look unreal, create flashes in the eyes, and generally make them look a bit flat. If you are having trouble taking a good photo just ask me or send me what you have and ask for advice to get a better photo. If I am sent photos that are not the best quality for painting from I might ask you if you can get anymore, please don’t be offended I just want to create the best portrait I can for you and I am aware that not everyone knows what I might need from a photo, so I find it’s best for me to ask just in case!
Q Do you matt / mount the portrait?
A I mount each piece using a window matt and back mount so that your artwork is kept secure and flat. After the artwork has been mounted it is easy to put straight into a frame or take to a framers to get it professionally framed. I can provide the work unmounted if you prefer to get it done by your chosen framing studio. I advertise the sizes that I create and what size frame the final mounted piece will be made to fit but if you have specific requirements just ask.
Q Can you frame my portrait?
A I can provide a basic framing service for local customers or customers who can collect from me (near Cheltenham). I am not a professional framer but I do have some basic knowledge of presenting artwork and looking after it so I will use this when framing pet portraits. If you want to get your portrait framed professionally I recommend finding a framer in your area and visiting them to discuss what you want. They will have a large variety of different types of frame and glass as well as glasses that can further protect your painting from sunlight damage which standard glass or perspex cannot do.
Q I don’t know what frame to get for my painting!
A That’s ok, choosing a frame can be hard because there are so many options. Generally the types of frames I use modern frames with flat, clean edges and no detail, usually in black or white. This is my preference, and is by no means the only way of doing it! If you are unsure, think about what the room looks like where the portrait will hang. Will a wooden frame suit it better or simple, modern black? Ikea is a good place for cheap modern frames (Ribba), also Nielson is one of my go to brands for good, inexpensive frames and they have a range of wooden as well as aluminium frames.
Q How can I take care of my painting?
A Once mounted a painting is already somewhat protected from curling and bending. I use acid free tape and mount board to ensure that there is no discolouration to the paper by the mounting process. Getting your portrait framed is another step that helps it to last longer whilst on display. Ensure that the back of the portrait is sealed with gum tape to prevent mites from entering the portrait. You should also try to hang the portrait in an area that does not get direct sunlight so that the paint doesn’t fade or bleach in the sunlight. If you cannot avoid hanging in sunlight or are concerned about colours fading in your portrait then I advise getting your portrait framed by a professional framer and asking for a UV resistant glass, this will cost more but can help to preserve your painting for longer. Making sure your framed piece is securely fixed to the wall will also mean it cannot fall, if the glass shatters it can cause damage to the painting. It is also best to avoid humid or damp areas to hang your portrait in, although again you may be able to get advice from a professional framer.
Q Can you post my portrait to me?
A Yes I can, although I have not yet posted any framed pieces so I would prefer if you could choose the unframed option if you want it to be posted.
Q Can you deliver outside of the UK?
A Yes, I will post portraits unframed outside of the UK, just contact me so I can give you a quote.
Q Can I order a portrait in a different size to the ones you have advertised?
A Yes, just let me know what you were looking for and I can give you a quote for that size. Please bear in mind that the smaller the painting the less detailed I can make it, I generally do not do portraits of more than one pet together in the same piece in small sizes because of this.