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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This Weekend I visited Norwich

This Weekend I visited Norwich

Posted by on Sep 29, 2013 in Pet Portraits, The Artist | 0 comments

To be precise, my husband and I visited an adorable Norwich Terrier named Toby, as well as our dear friends, Carey and John, Toby’s owners.

The portrait I painted of Toby, a Norwich Terrier, as a surprise for Carey last year is displayed in their home. It was commissioned by Carey’s husband, John, as a Christmas gift – and Carey indeed wondered why John was suddenly so busy photographing Toby. We were the fortunate and happy weekend guests of this crowd…great fun!

Toby and Carey...and Toby!

Toby and Carey…and Toby!

I met Carey in 7th grade. She and John are wonderful people and dear friends. Toby is a very endearing two year old who likes to lick people’s legs.

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The Casual Portrait – A Gallery Show In Progess

The Casual Portrait – A Gallery Show In Progess

Posted by on Sep 21, 2013 in Gallery Shows, Pet Portraits | 0 comments

There’s a lot of interest in what goes into preparing for a gallery show. As I get closer to my show’s opening, I’m happy to share the experience with other fellow artists. I’m continuing to develop the content and presentation of the artwork for my upcoming show, The Casual Portrait.

Whether you have an agent or are representing yourself, it is helpful to know that show requirements can vary from gallery to gallery. The average show consists of 8 to 10 of your very best works. I  usually paint between 12 and 15 works, that cover several different subjects. For this show, my subjects are People, Animals, and Etc.

Since still life paintings of flowers or fruit don’t generally fit into the category of “portrait”, I opted to use the broad term “Etc.” in my promotional materials for this gallery show – a bit of trivia for those who asked

I’ve learned not to overwhelm the collectors and visitors to a show with too many selections. Artistic overload, if you will, can cause analysis paralysis; if overwhelmed by too many styles and categories, a purchase decision may become a challenge.

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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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