Tag: custom pet portraits

Patterns, Pets and Portraits

Two Tabby Cats on Patterned Persian Rug Portrait Painting by BZTAT
Painting by BZTAT

As a teaching artist, I visit a number of preschool classes every week. One of the many learning objectives layered into my art lessons is helping students identify patterns. Each child’s moment of recognition of a pattern is often filled with excitement. Discovery of patterns is thrilling when it is a new concept.

We still have strong emotional responses as our minds grow and become more adept at identifying patterns. The response is deep. Sometimes it is relaxing and sometimes it is exhilarating depending on the design, textures and color intensity.

Patterns can spark a range of emotional reactions while also enhancing intellectual capacities.

I enjoy adding patterns to my compositions when I paint portraits of pets. Many pets have intriguing patterns in their coats, and combining those with patterned backgrounds can be a great visual challenge. Often, when I see a patterned rug or cloth of some sort in the photos submitted for a portrait, I find a way to include it in the composition.

In the above portrait of Tommy and Ollie (Thomas and Oliver if we want to be formal), I included the patterns from an authentic Persian rug on which these two felines loved to lounge. Their tabby cat stripes are offset by the rich designs and colors in the rug. I believe that this makes the portrait a more dynamic artwork than if I had focused simply on capturing the cats’ likenesses.

White cat portrait with patterned blanket
Painting by BZTAT

A portrait calls for more than making images that look like the subjects. A portrait calls for an interesting design and composition that inspires emotion on many levels. The emotion is not sentimentality, although some sentiment is acknowledged. The color and patterns take the painting to a different level, making it an artwork that can be appreciated even if you have no actual connection to the subjects.

In this portrait of Claude, I could not resist including the intricately patterned blanket on which this beautiful cat reclined in the submitted photos. Including the pattern made the portrait much more difficult and added considerable time to the process, but I think it was worth it.

(Claude’s portrait was recently featured on Hauspanther, where you can see the original photos from which the painting was designed.)

Dilute Tortoise Shell Cat Portrait Painting with patterns by Artist BZTAT
Painting by BZTAT

The patterns in Francie’s portrait to the right led to a more abstract design for the the overall composition. I was intrigued with the cool colors of her coat contrasting with the warmer colors in the background. I also enjoyed playing with the haphazard quality of the patterns in her fur and the energetic quality of the background designs.

I do not include patterns in all of my custom pet portraits. Sometimes a simple background makes a strong composition, and sometimes I include scenery or other background choices. I find that the ones with patterns are often my favorites, however. I look forward to creating more of them in the future.

The important takeaway here is that painting a pet’s portrait, for me, is more than painting what the animal looks like. I am challenged to create an experience for the viewer that excels in the visual elements as well as meets a patron’s desire for art resembling his or her pet. Achieving an accurate likeness of the pet is important. The relationship between human and beast is best expressed, though, when the rigors of color, texture and design are applied to the painting. My hope is that I meet that challenge each time that I combine patterns, pets and portraits.

Interested in commissioning a portrait of your pet? Learn more here.

Life is an Adventure!


World Animal Day: Celebrating Humankind’s Relationship with the Animal Kingdom

 Custom Pet Portrait Painting by BZTAT
Border Collie Custom Dog Portrait painting by BZTAT

“We are all creatures of one family.” ~St. Francis of Assisi

Did you know that today is World Animal Day? What a wonderful day to celebrate the richness that animals bring to our lives!

As much as I love and advocate for animals, I did not know that there was a designated day to celebrate them. In fact, World Animal Day began in 1931. October 4 was chosen as the day to celebrate it because it is the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi who was the patron saint of animals.

According to the official World animal Day website, its mission is as follows:

  • To celebrate animal life in all its forms
  • To celebrate humankind’s relationship with the animal kingdom
  • To acknowledge the diverse roles that animals play in our lives – from being our companions, supporting and helping us, to bringing a sense of wonder into our lives
  • To acknowledge and be thankful for the way in which animals enrich our lives

I find this mission to be very compelling. I could easily adopt their mission and proclaim it my own, as each tenet speaks to what my animal artwork is all about.

My art not only depicts animals, it celebrates them. Not only does my art celebrate animals, it celebrates the relationships that we form with them. My art  acknowledges and expresses the diversity of our connection to animals, and it celebrates our wonder and fascination with the joy that they bring to our lives. And my art is created out of an awareness and appreciation of the enrichment that animals bring to our lives.

I remember as a child that my church had a special “blessing of the Animals” service every year, and it was always my favorite spiritual celebration. My family never relented in my desire to take my cat Pyewacket to the service (he was probably grateful that I didn’t take him), but I was always thrilled to see the animals of others who did bring their pets.

Today, I will give some extra hugs to my own cats, and I will be especially mindful of the world’s tradition of remembering all animals on this date as I work on a couple of pet portraits. When people entrust me to paint a portrait of their pet, they are allowing me into their world of love, wonder and appreciation of their cherished pet. It is an honor, and a very special opportunity for me.

What will you do to celebrate World Animal Day?

Life is an Adventure!


Family Portrait: Cats, cats, and more cats and some wonderful cat loving people.

Savannah cats custom pet portrait painting BZTAT
Premiere Custom Pet Portrait Painting by BZTAT

Hattie and Bubba are two amazing cats. They are Savannah Cats,  a breed that is a cross between a domestic cat and the serval, a wild African cat. I have never met these two felines, but I have followed their antics through their human caregivers’ Facebook pages with great joy. They are young cats, I am thinking younger than 2 years, and they are full of energy.

Bubba (right) was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor a few months ago, and he has been receiving rigorous treatment. I was thrilled to learn that, on the day I completed his and Hattie’s portrait, Bubba had gone to the vet, and he was given a clean bill of health. His tumor was all gone!

Hattie and Bubba inhabit the home of Scott, Jill and Addison – three very committed cat lovers. It has been my pleasure to paint a full collection of portraits for this family, totaling 6 portraits of 7 cats! First there was Murphy. Then there was Sasha, and then Cleo. Sebastian came next, then Powder, and then finally, Hattie and Bubba.

You can see all of there portraits in this slide show.

Sadly, some of these felines are now at the Rainbow Bridge and no longer a part of this life. That is what is so special about a portrait. It keeps the positive memories alive.

Child custom pop art portrait
Custom Portrait by BZTAT

As a special gift, I also created a portrait for Scott and Jill when they adopted their young daughter, Addison at the end of 2012. Again, though I have never met them in real life, I feel as though  I know the whole family, human and feline, connected as we are through social media and artistic expression. I rarely give an artwork to a customer as a gift, but I decided to do so with this one for such loyal customers and for such a blessed event.

So what will come next in the collection? Well, I hear that Scott is wanting to add a dog into this joyful menagerie. I can only imagine the possibilities!

Would you like a portrait of your pet or child? I would love to crate artwork for your family! See info about custom pet portraits here, and custom child portraits here.

Life is an Adventure!