I'm thrilled to announce that I'm opening up dog portrait commissions again and supporting the Animal Protection Society of Durham during the month of August. In reviewing my history of making dog portraits, I recognized that I was building momentum in creating more portraits just prior to the Pandemic. With my relocation to NC, I've completed a couple, but haven't been able to promote them. My studio is almost 100% finished (enough that it is operable) and the renovations in our home are complete. Now, as we move into the Dog Days of Summer, I'm ready to officially open them up and donate 10% of the profits of all booked portraits to APS.
I've been making dog portraits since we rescued our first dog, Ringo, back in 2007. It started with just an oil pastel of him, roughly drawn on cardboard. I adore that drawing and have a dedicated spot in our powder room. At some point when I ran my studio/gallery in Newton, NJ, I began accepting dog portrait commissions, with one of the first subjects coming in for a photo shoot:
Since then I've completed several oil paintings in full color, mostly from reference photos sent to me via email. Each dog's personality is important to me - I love to play with color juxtapositions and patterns that offset the dog's fur and liven up the dog. Owners often tell me something significant about their dog that becomes integral to the painting - a portrait I completed last year incorporated petunias that Finnigan often frolicked in. Sadly, Finnigan passed away during the painting of his portrait and my customer wanted to wait to tell me until it was completed. She sent me a photo of her crying and texted, "These are happy tears! I’m feeling so emotional 💗 Finnigan is home….the painting is more than I could have hoped for! It is everything!!!" I've heard similarly emotional feedback from countless dog portrait recipients that I've painted.
You can see a complete portfolio of my dog portraits on my commissions page, and from there visit the store page to see the standard sizes available. For more custom sizes and needs, please contact me directly to tell me more about your ideas.
Just prior to the pandemic I started doing live dog portraits at our local farmer's market in NJ. As it turned out, many of the dogs just wouldn't sit still (I know, the expectation was a bit wild) and I ended up taking them back to my studio to complete. The intent was for me to complete the drawings in 15 minutes, but once in my studio, I began to develop them into much more refined drawings. Thus the mini studio dog portraits emerged.
These are all drawn now in graphite on cream archival drawing paper, sized at 5" x 7", and mounted in an archival double mat, ready for an 8" x 10" frame, priced at $95. They make easy gifts for dog lovers, and the black and white medium allows for focus on the dogs' textures and most often the faces of the dogs. Below, the dog in the middle was the only one drawn from life, keeping the 15-minute time constraint.
I take the honor of creating a forever memory of your furry family member very seriously, but I deeply enjoy the process and have fun while painting or drawing them. It would be my absolute pleasure to complete a commissioned portrait of your pet - whether still alive or passed. I've been told by some gift-givers of portraits that the painting of the family dog might even be more treasured than the kids (you decide)!
During the month of August, when you commission a portrait, 10% of the profits will be donated to the Animal Protection Society of Durham. The only requirement is that you minimally pay the 50% deposit upon commission. I offer some standard-size commissions that you can purchase through my website and pay in full. Larger portraits or more complex images will require conversations to iron out details and a contract with payment schedules and materials. These paintings and drawing booked during August will be completed by the end of the year. Anything booked beyond August, will not be guaranteed. This is a great time to plan a Christmas or year-end gift for someone and know that you're helping me support an important mission for animals in Durham.
The Animal Protection Society is the county of Durham's only shelter. It is operated on both private and public funding. After speaking with Anna Wilcox, their events and communications manager, I learned that last year alone the shelter supported nearly 5,000 animals! They currently are hosting about 700. They do not turn away any animal and do their best to provide feed, shelter, and provide medical attention. They've had a record number of adoptions, and increased spaying and neutering, but are also seeing a huge uptick in surrenders.
I'm the proud owner of Cider, our 3-year-old dog who my family adopted through a rescue organization adopting dogs from Atlanta, GA, in Kingston, NY. Ringo, my dog before her, was adopted through an organization in NJ and brought to us from West Virginia. Supporting shelters and rescue organizations is so important to me. While my family is not in a position to adopt another dog right now, this is the next best way for me to support my love of dogs and a very important local shelter. Just look at some of their stats below to see how they are serving our community.
"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive." - Gilda Radner
Please consider booking a portrait or seeing how you can support a rescue or shelter in your own community.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Deemed the Kitchen God's Artist by NJ Savvy Living for my sainted appliances, I'm now known more for my vibrant, meditational paintings of chairs set surprisingly in landscapes. Since relocating to NC from NJ, mothering my two sons, and caring for our rescue pup, Cider, took the lead. Now, that my Durham home studio is renovated it's open again for virtual art coaching and the resumption of my personal art and commissions. The work I make is inspired by my joy of teaching, exploring nature, and traveling. On The Teaching Artist Blog, I share my approach to teaching and educate my readers about my creative process.
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Want to read more from the past? Click here to read archived blog posts from my previous blog on Blogger.