Karen June is crazy about her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Lucas. In fact, she has a couple of commissioned portraits of him in her home. You don't notice them as "pet portraits" at first...they just look like small pieces of art that she's incorporated into the intimate settings of her living and dining rooms. That's because they don't look like something bought by a crazy "doggie mommy" who brings her pet, complete with reindeer antlers, to see Santa and have his picture taken. And then hung with a cheap frame from CVS. (I speak from my personal hall of shame here. From long ago). Anyway, I adore Lucas, too, and I think having a terrific painting of a pet is something a lot of people can get crazy about.
I think there are three things that make Karen June's pet portraits work as part of her interior style. They are:
- The portraits are part of a larger composition on her walls
- When she uses a frame its an ornate cast-off, which perfectly reflects her aesthetic
- The paintings can stand alone as art pieces, even if you don't know her dog
So yes, I suppose I'm being a bit of a snob since I'm saying there's a right way and a wrong way to do pet portraits. But this is why I get the big bucks, people.
Here are a few artists whose work meets the above criteria, in our humble opinions. If you're in the market for a custom piece featuring your furry companion, check these out:
This close up of a tabby is by artist Amanda Moekel of Brooklyn, NY. She's currently a graduate student at School of Visual Arts in NYC, working on an MFA in Illustration. Commemorating companion animals has been a passion of hers since 1999, when she started My Animal Art. You can find her work here.
This is a great example of a painting that stands on it's own, even if you don't own a rabbit! I love the colors and thick layers of paint. It comes from the studio The Dog Color, run by Jason & Masako Roberts. True pet lovers! Find their work here.
We admit to having an affinity for animals in clothing. Puci has a lot of great pieces and she seems to really capture the personalities of her subjects. I settled on this one for the post because Karen June happens to be crazy about Frida Kahlo. You can find more of Puci's work here.
Our final artist is Molly Kugler Dickinson, who, as you can see, paints all kinds of pets. We also really like the ones she does of rabbits in what she calls the "Old Master Style." They look like portraits from the Renaissance. Only with rabbits. You can find her work here.
As you've probably figured out, our theme this month captures the many things we love and are truly "Crazy About..." I've learned from many a gallery owner that the first rule on how to buy art is this: Buy what you love. So if you love your pet and want to capture the essence of what he means to you, make sure you're hanging a portrait that you're, well, crazy about!