Animal Portraits by Laurie Gayle
As a child I loved to create. I thought one day I would become an artist; later, when I got a little older, I fell in love again, this time with horses. I've always had an interest in animals. My Mom could tell you that when I was a little girl, I would disappear during her shopping trips to the local dime store only to be found in a trance on the pet aisle, somewhere between the mice and the fish tanks. My parents were tolerant and obliging of my requests of pets of all kinds.
I think being a success at anything, especially as an artist, requires persistence, and persistence is much easier when it's driven by passion. In the beginning I would say I was inspired simply to create, now I would say that animals are the reason that I'm inspired to create. My artistic ability is not a gift or talent. The gift is that I've always known what I've wanted to do, and the talent lies in my patience to observe.
Most of my day, every day, is spent with animals, either painting them in nature or studio, being in their company, caring for them and analyzing their characteristics.
I love the details. Dogs, for example, their coat variety: silky, smooth, rough and wiry. Color: a Chocolate Lab, with hues of ultramarine blue, Tuscan red, black grape, cherry, peach, umber, sienna, all blending to make chocolate. Their eyes: the depth, layers, reflections and color, a window to the soul. Their anatomy: from the young, agile, angular Pointer, to the stout and squat aging mixed breed. Their personality: from the wily Jack Russell to the noble Great Dane.
My goal with commissioned portraits is to capture the spirit and essence of the animals I paint. I want my clients to be amazed with the physical likeness in the portrait, but more importantly I want them to see their pet's personality leap off the canvas.
A crucial part of my process is to understand the animal and owner interaction, I'm looking for that special bond by asking the client to describe their pet, their history and story.
As the studio work begins, the sum of all this information creates a vision of each animal, and their spirit comes to life with every stroke of the brush.
My mission is that my client will have a portrait that they can look at long after their beloved pet has passed; and the memories will come flooding back, and it will seem so real for them that they can almost feel their old friend curled up at their feet.
"Portraits that capture spirit and likeness, creating a keepsake of precious memories to last a lifetime"