Portraits of Pets by Mike Brouse, Boulder, Colorado
My pet portrait blog - examples of some pet paintings and their related stories. Contact me for more information about how to commission a portrait. They make great gifts and wonderful heartfelt surprises.
Horses are wonderful subjects for painters, poets, artists of all types have been drawn to these mysterious beasts. This new series horses can be found on my website. Some of them are sold but there are a few that are available as of May 2013. I've used acrylics before but never seriously until now. It's a wonderful medium, and is a nice change up from my normal work in oil.
I really liked this poem about the horse by Sarah Katy Williams
Night Visitor 16 x 18 - Acrylic on canvas
"I am the Horse"
He stands proud, head held high majestically
Viewing me with reasonable suspicion
My scent fills his nostrils as he breathes in deep
I really like meeting your dogs. I enjoy the challenge of creating an impressionistic oil painting of your best friend. A five dog painting is especially challenging. This painting will clearly light up any room!
Here's a nice quote from a recent article about my work: "His vivid and sensitive pet portraits give him special satisfaction to create on commission, as cherished mementos for pet owners. “My goal is for the animals to be expressive and communicative, and for there to be a sense of movement – as if they could get up and walk away.” Mike isn’t shy about talking about some of his “secrets” for creating his animated portraits. “I focus on brush movement, mixing cool with warm colors – which creates a push-pull ‘dance’ for the eye, and I use tiny dots of red and blue in the eyes and nose.”
Olivia 16 x 20 Oil
I usually paint my dog portraits on thick canvas, and then frame them in a contemporary dark floater frame.
36 x 24 oil on canvas - Niwot, Co - looking west toward Long's Peak
Some of my favorite projects are commissioned oil paintings. It's fun to work with a client to make their vision come true. In this example, the clients walk on this path near their home in Niwot, Colorado and they wanted a specific scene incorporating the path looking west toward Long's Peak.
I initially did three watercolor studies that incorporated three different ideas. In the end they selected the one with the "diverging path", the ponderosa pines, and the wonderful view of Long's Peak. I had them come to my studio several times to check on the progress. Each time we made some adjustments until they were 110% satisfied. The client's happiness is my total concern during these projects. It does not matter if its a small project (like a small pet portrait) or a large landscape project like this one. Please contact me for more information. I can provide references as needed.
I rang the bell. Sally met me at the door and she was immediately very friendly. I was there to meet her and take photos of her in her backyard for an oil portrait. We went out in the yard and I discovered that Sally liked to stand on a tall rock and overlook her territory. She has a magnificent view towards the west overlooking a field, several back yards, and Long's Peak. My goal was to get her to pose for me up on that rock. I played with her for a few minutes and gave her some treats. Then I got the camera out and began taking pictures. I was surprised that she was a little camera shy. For every 25 shots I took only about two were useable as reference. She was always on the move, and she is very short so I found myself laying down on the ground a lot. After about 30 minutes outside with her I had the shots I needed.
I sent several possible photos to Sally's owner for approval. After I had a clear direction I produced the above oil painting. Sally wore a great collar that day and it really helped the portrait to pop. I put all the paint and important strokes up around her face. I want the viewers eye to always end up on that great face. Thanks for the great time Sally!
Anne wanted to honor Ben with a portrait for their family. I painted Ben from client supplied photos. I never got a chance to meet him.
Angie and Mike love Figaro, and she loves them back! Figaro was adopted by Angie over ten years ago. After being commissioned I went to the house to meet Figaro for the first time. She made sure I was friendly and then she warmed up. I shot about 50 photos of Figaro, and Angie provided me with some of her own favorite photos via emailed jpeg images. We looked at the room Angie planned on hanging the painting (a bithday gift from her husband Mike). She selected a 14" square format that I would paint on canvas and frame for them.
When I got home I looked at all the pics and sent them a few to review. I made suggestions, but it is always up to the client to select the photo upon which the portrait will be based. We went back and forth via email a few times until they settled on the pose shown in the pic.
As you can see from the finished painting below I try very hard to capture an impression of the pet. I add color, bold brush strokes and texture to emphasize important areas. I try to bring attention to the face, eyes and nose while everything else plays a supporting role. I also try to create a piece of art. This is not just a pet portrait to me. I think that is an important distinction. I am not a pet portrait artist, although there is nothing wrong with that. I am a painter who loves and respects animals. I do pet portraits upon request. I try very hard to capture the beauty of the animal on canvas. I prefer to meet the pet in person and take some pics, but I have painted many pets from around the country using only pictures that were provided to me.
Here are some additional examples of the pet portrait work I do.
Emme - with her ball - 12" square oil on panel
Emme passed in 2010 and the owners daughter purchased a commission pet portrait for them as a surprise gift!
Griffey passed away after many years as the loyal family dog. Griffey was loved by his parents and two young boys who were, of course, heartbroken when he passed. Griffey is now a work of art who should last a very long time. 12" square oil on panel - SOLD
Tico is a mix of Dalmatian and Australian Cattle Dog. He is lean and muscular and what I would call a stud. As you can see he has very expressive eyes. Tico was rescued from an abandoned ranch where he and his brother were fighting over food to survive. Tico to this day does not like his brother (poor Tico). He also does not like direct eye contact. He is a great pet, and likes to howl when he hears a nearby train whistle. I painted Tico in oil on panel - 12" square - SOLD
A fun and challenging part of my fine art business is working with clients to produce a commissioned painting. Usually it is an oil painting or watercolor of special places and subjects including cabins, people, or pets including dogs, cats and horses. I can do a photo shoot if you are local to the Boulder, Denver area, or I can work from your photographs too. I have produced paintings for clients from all over the country.
We usually begin the process by discussing your project, the size of the painting, and what kind of medium you are interested in. Then I will proceed along those lines after receiving a 1/2 down payment. I guarantee your satisfaction so no project is paid for or completed until you are happy. It is my goal to provide you with a painting for your home, or a gift for a loved one, that you can be very proud of.
My prices are reasonable, ranging from $300 for a smaller pet portrait to over $2000 for larger oil work on canvas. I am very easy to work with, and I remain in touch with all of my clients. I have many satisfied references.
If you would like to discuss a project please contact Mike Brouse Fine Art in Boulder, Colorado at 303-444-2461 or visit my website for additional information.