Pets by hART

Custom oil paintings by Jane Hart

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When Easier Portraits Are Better

(I Think)

Posted by on Dec 29, 2014 in Animal Reflections, Family Portraits, Pet Portraits, Portrait Inspiration | 0 comments

Portrait of Buster, a long haired dachshund

Buster, a long haired dachshund

Sometimes it’s hard to know whether the effort I put into portraits is helping…or a sign that I should simply start over.


I just finished a portrait commission. It was a very cute, long-haired dachshund named Buster, the grand-dog of friends with an intimidating array of art credentials: both have doctorates in art history; she taught on a graduate level, wrote important books on art and sold paintings of her own; he managed a major New York City gallery.

Perhaps that was why I kept tweaking and re-painting Buster…until the original, winsome dog in the painting had been covered by another…and another, and I knew that I was overthinking this poor pup.

Feeling very stuck, I started over with a different reference photo…and I could tell right away that this time, Buster was talking and I was listening, and the painting virtually painted itself.

I decided to give this dog’s “grandparents” the opportunity to decide which one they wanted, and – no big surprise – they preferred the second one.

Portrait of Buster, a long haired dachshund

Buster, a long haired dachshund

The lesson I learned: the quality of a portrait may actually be in inverse proportion to the effort expended. Perhaps, like a winning tennis stroke, a good painting has to feel informed, connected, and ultimately effortless.

But I have to admit, the process is still a mystery…

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A Final Walk Down Memory Lane

Posted by on Mar 30, 2014 in Animal Reflections, Animal Rescue, Pet Portraits, Portrait Inspiration | 0 comments

Our favorite photo of Lefty

Our favorite photo of Lefty

Remember when your dog was a puppy, how excited and playful and energetic he was? Remember how great you felt when she was finally housebroken? Or when he learned a new command, stopped chewing your favorite sandals…and could walk on the leash without affectionately barreling into every dog and person in sight?

It’s exciting to see your puppy grow and learn and adapt to your lifestyle. All of a sudden, you’re communicating perfectly with her – and vice versa. As a friend said recently, mourning his own dog, “We were finishing each other’s sentences.”

But unlike our children, puppies mature quickly…and all of a sudden, they are senior citizens, with a whole new set of problems, like arthritis, heart trouble, vision and hearing loss, and even dementia. And often, it is up to the human to make the very difficult decision to put a pet down.

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In Loving Memory – 3 Owners Reflect on Their Pets And Their Portraits

Posted by on Dec 17, 2013 in Animal Reflections, Animal Rescue, Pet Portraits, Portrait Inspiration | 0 comments

As you can tell, one of my life’s passions is dogs. I love my own furry friend Lefty as much as any family member, because he *is* family. If I lost him, I’d grieve him deeply. Owners celebrate their pets’ birthdays, confide in them, and have images of them on their cell phones. The memory of a beloved pet is intense; when a beloved pet dies, it’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your sorrow.

I’m a licensed, board certified art therapist, specializing in grief, loss and bereavement, and it’s perfectly ok to grieve in your own way, for as long as you need to. Grief has to run its course, and one way that I’ve been able to offer comfort to other dog lovers is to create a lasting memorial portrait of their beloved pet.

There are many ways to manage your feelings. Write about them privately, blog about them online, research pet support groups to speak to others, and even prepare a memorial for your pet.

My portraits aren’t simply copies of a photograph; they capture the essence of the animal. I strive to portray the emotions, the personality, the memory, and the uniqueness of your pet. Coping with the loss is something that can be eased a bit by seeing your dog through another set of eyes.

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My Upcoming Show “The Casual Portrait”

My Upcoming Show “The Casual Portrait”

Posted by on Aug 27, 2013 in Animal Reflections, Animal Rescue, Family Portraits, Portrait Inspiration | 0 comments

I’m very excited about my upcoming show, The Casual Portrait, at Temple Beth El in New Rochelle, NY from November 23rd to December 29th, 2013. It’s called The Casual Portrait because I’m including various styles of work – animals, people, and still life.

Setting up an art exhibition can be a creative, exciting adventure. However, it does have its challenges, and good planning is just as important as beautiful artwork to to be successful.

Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemons

Deciding on a theme was one of the first steps. It’s not enough to simply have a lot of artwork to exhibit; in order to tie each piece together, I had to develop a theme. I wanted to draw people who are specifically interested in the concepts being exhibited. For this reason, I also titled my latest blog post with the three types of portraits I’ll be displaying at my show.

 

 

Mother Retriever and Puppy

Mother Retriever and Puppy

Choosing the location was also important. My exhibit will be at Temple Beth El because of the warm, inviting, family atmosphere. Given that my portraits appeal to that type of audience, I knew it would be a good fit for my art and attendees. The folks there are very friendly and supportive, and staying near my community is important.

 

It’s been very exciting to select the pieces that will appear  in my show. The opening reception will be on Sunday, from 2:00-4:30 PM, and will feature coffee, tea, cookies and rugalla. If you’re not familiar with rugalla, a delicious pastry filled with raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, chocolate, marzipan, poppy seed, or fruit preserves, you’re in for a treat!

Pink Vase

Pink Vase on Table

I would also encourage my blog readers to visit my web site, Pets By hArt, to see more examples of my work. My love for animals, and the families they are part of, is what inspires me to continue to create. Thank you, and I hope to see you at the show!

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The Inspiration To Create

The Inspiration To Create

Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in Animal Reflections, Family Portraits, Portrait Inspiration | 0 comments

How do artists visualize their ideas? Where does the inspiration come from? Why am I creating this particular portrait?

I’m often asked how I create my portraits of people, animals or both. Part of the process is that I truly love what I do, and when I see a subject, either in person or in a photograph, I “feel” his or her story.

Andrew With Granny Smith

Andrew With Granny Smith

This feeling comes from years of observation, of deep affection and understanding of my own pets, family, and friends, and from watching the loving interaction of others. The inspiration comes naturally, you might say.

Owen

Owen

It is such a pleasure when I immerse myself in his or her story. I know that I want to create a vision of the subject that will not only satisfy my artistic needs, but also provide a unique gift and memory. When I’m calmly at one with the materials, and my thoughts, a painting virtually paints itself and I’m just along for the ride. Of course, my purpose is also to oversee, and ensure, accuracy and harmony.

Creating a portrait is a deeply personal experience. A portrait doesn’t have to be formal, as long as it captures the person. As an artist, I know my portraits will be part of a family’s history. I want them to feel the joy that I felt when I captured the spirit of their family member – animal or human.

Please visit my web site, Pets by hArt, to see how a portrait of your loving pet will enhance your home and memory.

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Want To Go For A Walk Down Memory Lane?

Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 in Animal Reflections, Pet Portraits, Portrait Inspiration | 0 comments

Remember when your dog was a puppy, how excited and playful and energetic he was? Remember how great you felt when she was finally housebroken? Or when he learned a new trick, stopped chewing your favorite sandals…and finally stopped crying and started sleeping through the night? Which memory is the most meaningful?

It’s exciting to see your puppy grow and learn and adapt to your lifestyle. All of a sudden, you’re communicating perfectly with her – and vice versa.

Stan and Left (as a puppy!)

Stan and Lefty (as a puppy!)

But unlike our children, puppies mature all too quickly…and all of a sudden, they are senior citizens, with a whole new set of problems, like arthritis, heart trouble, vision problems, you name it. And sooner or later, we are forced to admit that a much beloved “puppy” is old…and maybe, maybe his or her days are numbered.

This is the time when a portrait, made from one of your favorite photos of your pet, can recall and illuminate times past. Do you have a favorite photo or two in a frame or album – or on your cell phone? It would be my pleasure to see your photo…and make a beautiful custom oil painting of your dog (or cat). You will have it forever, to see every day and relive a moment in your pet’s life that will always make you smile.

I would be glad to do a photo shoot, but there’s no need for your dog to “sit” through that. When you send me a few of your favorite images, I can still create a one-of-a-kind painting that will capture your pet’s unique personality – and become a treasured gift for a family member…or for yourself.

Please visit my page, Pets by hArt, to see how a portrait of your loving pet will enhance your home and memory.

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