Pets are like family members. They have personality, quirks and emotions. Pets are often treated just like family- they get gifts, go on vacations and end up in family photo albums. There are so many different ways that pet owners invite their animals into the family circle.
Some pet owners chose to honor their pets with a custom pet portrait. This special piece of art is both home décor and a way to show your love for that special family member. The number of talented pet portrait artists is rising and these artists are constantly raising the bar. When a client commissions a piece they are generally looking for a final product that is detailed, polished and true to their pet. California based pet portrait artist Suzanne Leonard delivers a finished product that is all that and more.
Leonard is a self-taught artist whose father was an avid art collector. At a young age she was exposed to art and would visit museums and galleries with her father. She first took a liking to painting in the 1980’s and has been perfecting her talent ever since. She now offers her custom art in several mediums including oil, watercolor, pen and ink and pencil drawings.
“I prefer working with oil,” said Leonard in a correspondence. “There is more that I can do with it. Watercolor is unforgiving.” One thing is clear- no matter what medium the art is exquisitely detailed and beautiful.
Her relationship with her father opened her up to learn about all kinds of artists. She took a liking to Jamie Wyeth, a contemporary American realist painter. She also likes symbolism painter Gustav Klimt. She admires the western themed oil paintings of Teresa Elliott and the color and whimsy of Wayne Thiebaud’s art.
Inspired by a childhood filled with fine art Leonard started to take her love of the brush to the next level. She cultivated her craft painting custom portraits of people and in doing so found her true calling.
“I have been painting professionally since 1990. I started out painting people. But people are vain and wanted me to airbrush the character out of their faces,” said Leonard. “They want their pets to look the way they really look.”
Her love of animals and art combined and the result is colorful, meticulous creations. For Leonard painting a cat, dog or horse was a happy change. “I started out doing horses and have been specializing in dogs for the past 4 years,” said Leonard.
Leonard’s clients can expect a finished product that is so detailed that at first glance it looks like a photograph. Her clients pay a 10 per cent deposit and only pay the remainder of the balance once they approve the portrait. She paints what she does because she is a pet owner and appreciates what these furry family members bring to the table.
She is the proud owner of four pets of her own. “I have 2 dogs, a macaw and a horse,” she said. Having a love for her own pet family only makes her better at her job. Leonard can relate with her clients- she herself honors her pets in many ways. Always caring for them and treating them like family and fully understanding why it is important to make sure she makes her clients happy.
When asked what she loves the most about pets Suzanne Leonard responded “They are always there for you.” This is one of the many reasons why pets deserved to be honored as family.