There it is again….my companion, Ms. ADD.  Here I was working on Jazz Hands VII and suddenly I am working with pastels and working on another dog portrait. One has to pay the bills however. A friend of my daughter’s is now a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and she suggested I do some animal portraits for her to hang in her offices with the hopes of gaining commissions.  So a brief interlude from Jazz Hands.  
Animal portraits are very satisfying. For those of us who are pet owners we know there is something very endearing about our furry creatures. Not only do they love us unconditionally but they are great companions. Each and every one of them has their own personality.  The trick to animal portraiture, I feel, is to capture that individual personality.  Like humans, the personality becomes visible to the viewer through the gesture, the ‘look’ in the eye, the tilt of the head, the stance of the body.
Though you can create an animal portrait in any medium, my preference is pastel. It gives a wonderful textural quality to the animals fur. I have seen pastel animal portraiture done on velour paper and I will try it out on one of the portraits I do for the veterinary office. My experience thus far has been using sanded papers such as Wallis and UArt. The portrait I am working on now is on Wallis Museum grade.
Most important is your subject matter and your source photograph.  Of course posing an animal for a live painting session is impossible so photographs are usually our only means of doing animal portraiture. If you cannot take your own photos of the animal it is important to get some photos that have good contrast in them and the features are clear.  You may be able to ‘salvage’ a somewhat poor photograph in Photoshop. Several photos of the animal are best in different poses to help you glean the ‘personality’ of the animal as well. I highly recommend printing the photograph as large as possible so that their features especially the eyes and nose are clearly visible. One wrong angle to the eye lid or nose can throw the whole likeness off .
The Rochester Art Club Spring Session of classes/workshops is in the works and I am considering doing a class on animal portraiture.  I believe we could cover a lot in a one day workshop.  What do you think? Would you take the class? Do you know some friends who would take the class?