Pet Portrait Artist Julie Palmer

Site Guide to Julie's Pet Portraits

Here is a guide to the various areas of the site, grouped in different sections for ease of reference. If you've just landed here from a search engine, you might want to go to my homepage to begin with, as this gives a summary of the content at Julie's Pet Portraits. You'll notice that it mentions I've been establish for over fifteen years in business as a portrait artist. I've actually been drawing portraits from as far back as I can remember! I was always the one at school that spent lots of time on the illustrations and very little on the writing!

Over the last few years my work as an artist has expanded and I now receive commissions from across the world - Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, Ireland, the USA - it's an exciting journey and pleasure to welcome you to my site.

The Gallery

So moving through the site, the next section on is the online gallery. Here you'll find lots of examples of recent animal portraits.

Head and shoulder portraits of dogs

The first painting you'll see is a border collie picture. This is one of three portraits I've completed from the same family of dogs. There's a border collie large picture to view as well. Hopefully this reveals some of the detail in the work. On each of the pictures in the gallery you'll notice words underneath something like "enlarge this portrait". This facility enables you to see the paintings in greater clarity. The next painting is a lurcher picture, a beautiful dog which has often been admired by my customers. Apparently, lurchers were originally breed in the 1600's in Great Britain to hunt out hares and rabbits. They are said to be obedient and easy to train. The next painting along in the gallery is a Wirehaired Fox Terrier. A descendant of the fox terrier, it's main working function was to scare a fox out of the hole by barking and snarling! These days, Wire's are mainly used as companion dogs.

On the next line down in the head and shoulders section, is Gemma, a beautiful springer spaniel that I had the pleasure of painting in 2006. Springer's are noted for their eyes - it was a joy to draw her striking and kind expression! The next painting is a cross breed dog. In this work I was requested to add a scarf to the portrait. If you would like an extra feature, such as collar or tag, just let me know when you come to order. (There's no extra charge for this). Finally in this section is "Dizzy" the dalmatian. Sometimes, a customer has a great photo of their dog which has been ruined by "red eye". Here is an example where I was able to work round this problem. I used the photo featured as the main reference, and then the customer supplied another for me to draw the eyes from. If you only have one photo, I can often use library images of breed standards to complete areas that are missing in the photograph.

Head and shoulder portraits of dogs (groups)

The aim of this section is to show what it is possible to acheive by combining photos of different dogs and bringing them together in one work. In this way, it's possible to create a painting that unites pets from different generations or seasons of the owners life. The first work featured in this section is a picture of two german shepherds together - Max and Molly. The customer supplied two separate photos and then I composed them together to form one portrait. The next portrait down is two staffordshire bull terriers. Here, the owner sent lots of photos to choose from of Max and Molly. We selected two that we thought would work well together to form a balanced composition. In the next painting, we see four toy dogs together - Pippin, Fluer, Chelsea and Benji. When dealing with a number of subjects together, a great deal of care has to be taken to acheive a balanced composition. (Notice how the dogs on the left and right of the picture have heads that are turned inwards). Finally in this section is "Basil and Cybil", two pretty jack russell terriers. Again, notice how both dogs are turned inwards to produce a pleasing effect.

Full body portraits of dogs

The aim of this part of the gallery is to show you what it is possible to acheive when painting the full dog. There are two different types of background options with a full body portrait. The first one is a simple "sketch", and implies what the animal might be sitting or standing on. This is done so the dog doesn't just float in mid-air! This option is also free of charge for full body works. The first example is "Rino", a sitting cocker spaniel. Notice how the shading underneath the legs helps to "ground" the subject in the painting. The next portrait along is takes a very different approach portraying a dog by the seaside. There may be a favourite walking area that you have in mind for setting the portrait in. This can often be done by using two different photographs, one of the background, and one of your pet. I can then piece the two together for the final composition. In "Summer Seat", we see a beautiful cavalier king charles spaniel, enjoying a moment in the garden. Finally in this section is "Milo", a jack russell terrier. The customer requested the paper that the dog was playing with to be removed (on the left of the photo), and I also added a cushion on the right to create a relaxed feel to the work.

Full body portraits of dogs (groups)

The final section of the gallery illustrating dog portraits brings both the elements of background and grouping together. A cocker spaniel picture of "Pandora and Joss" depicts these beautiful dogs taking a rest on their walk together. In "Together", a picture of two miniature collies , the owner asked if the two dogs could be drawn together seated on a garden bench. I used a curved rather than straight bench as the rounded edges on either side of the collies helps to unify the composition, hopefully it really makes them feel "together"! Next is "The Look of Love", two chihuahua dogs in full body. Smaller dogs in full body can be drawn on 16" by 12", group pictures of larger dogs usually need to be on 24" by 18" paper. The last work in this section is a pugs picture entitled "Sitting Pretty". Pugs are said to have saved the lives of royality, and Josephine (Napoleon's wife) whilst she was in prison sent secret messages to her husband by placing notes underneath her pugs collar!

Horse portraits

You'll notice that all the portraits in this section are head and shoulder studies. I don't offer full body portraits of horses. I like to be able to give as much detail as possible to the head and with such a large animal this is lost in a 16" by 12" portrait. In the horse portrait of "Jo", I was asked to keep the bridle on the subject. Bridles can be removed or added to the horse when I paint them, regardless of how the animal appears in the photo. In the next horse painting , ("Dignity") the face is seen in a side on position. Also notice that there is no background - you may prefer this option. The background to the beautiful horse "Charity" has a sketched and simple quality, and notice also that there is no bridle. The final horse picture in the gallery ("Patrick") is similar to "Jo" - the face is three quarters on to us, and there is an indication of the field where he may exercise. Patrick is here seen without a bridle.

Cat portraits

The first cat portrait in this section is of "Tabatha", painted in 2007 in pastels. To the left of this picture you will see a siamese cat. The siamese breed is unusual amongst cats in that they tend to be more of a "pack animal" and enjoy the company and attention of their owners more than most breeds. On the bottom row you'll see a tabby cat picture entitled "Drama Queen". Tabby cats are so popular that we often think of them as a breed. However, this is not strictly correct, as Tabby's are a type of hair pattern. This can be stripes, whorls, or spots and strips or some kind of mixture of these three elements! Finally in this section there is an example of a group cat portrait, with black, ginger & grey cats painted together. As with the dog portraits, different photos of your cats can be combined to create group studies. The last link in the gallery section of the site is a summary of all the different pet portraits in the gallery, with thumbnails for easy browsing.

Ordering a Portrait

Next along the top you should see a link entitled "dog portraits ". This gives you all the information you need to create your custom pet portrait . It takes you through the ordering process step by step and lets you know the kind of information that is required on the order form. Here you'll also notice two similar pages - "horse portraits" and "cat portraits". These give specific information related to each pet, and how to go about commissioning a portrait for these animals. There are also links here detailing how to take the best type of photograph for a portrait.

As you move along the main top navigation of the site, you'll notice the portrait prices page. This gives all the current prices, and the cost of portraits in other currencies such as the dollar and the euro. You'll also find the price of additional options such as backgrounds and full body portraits, as well as the cost of delivery.
Finally in the ordering section is the ordering options page (the one that is maked "order a portrait now"). Here you can commission a pet portrait either by ordering and paying online via paypal, or downloading an order form and paying with cheque. You'll also notice here that there are four online ordering options available. If you live in the UK then you'll want to select either a head & shoulders portrait or a full body one. Remember that I offer a full money back guarantee if you're not 100% happy with your commission. If you live outside of the UK, then there is also the option to pay by US dollars. To do this, simple press the "order now" button underneath the USA flag for a head & shoulders portrait or the button to the right of this for a full body portrait.

Frequently Asked Questions

On the bottom navigation, there's a frequently asked questions section, which has been divided into groups, mirroring the different stages of the ordering process.

questions about your photographs

The first question concerns what constitutes good portrait photos. There is a guide here for taking photos for me to work from, and things to look out for (such as making sure that you turn the flash off!). However, there is often times when your pet has passed away, and you would like a portrait created as a dog memorial . Perhaps you only have a few photos of your pet, and they are of low quality. This page deals with those questions and concerns. Finally in the photography section is a question about how your pet photos should be sent to me, and what kind of digital formats I accept.

questions about ordering

The first question in this section concerns how long a order takes, and when the deadline is for a portrait for christmas. Perhaps the deadline is too tight and there is not enough time to complete a portrait for you - the next question seeks to help here with the option of gift vouchers. These can be made out to any amount and are presented with a brochure and an ordering form. The final question is about international commissions, where I deliver to, and how to order from overseas.

questions about the portrait

Next is a series of commonly asked questions about the actual portrait itself. Many people ask me what is a pastel portrait , and how is it different to watercolour or oils? This page seeks to answer some of those questions. The next question is about how group portraits are commissioned. Here I seek to answer this question by referring to a toy dogs portrait that I completed in 2006, illustrated with the original photos used to compose the work. There is also an example here of a full body group portrait work. The next question concerns portrait backgrounds. Here I cover the two options - a sketched background and a more detailed approach, and illustrate the answer by referring to three recent works. Question four in this section is about creating a more custom pet portrait. Perhaps you would like me to include the dogs hairband or scarf, or add their name to the portrait. Once again, the answer is illustrated with a recent work. Finally in this section is a question about whether I paint other subjects to commission, such as houses or people.

questions about the framing and the size of portraits

The first question in this section covers the area of what is the best portrait size for your commission. Things to consider here are the breed and size of your animal, and whether or not you are wanting a head and shoulders or full body portrait. Also, if you want a group portrait, this will require one of the larger sizes. Is it possible to work to custom portrait dimensions? It may be that you already have a treasured frame that you would like the finished work to sit in, or you are considering commissioning a larger size than 24" by 18". This page runs through the options. Finally in this section is a page about framing the portrait .

questions about payment, delivery and refunds

What happens if you're not happy with the portrait? Here I set out my comprehensive refunds policy. The next question is about payment, covering the methods of payment I accept, and whether I take deposits, and if it's possible to order over the phone. Finally in the FAQ's is questions over delivery costs, and whether the portraits are insured in transit. Also detailed here is how portraits are sent overseas.

About Julie

This area of the website tells you a bit more about me as an artist, and how to contact me. The first is accessed off the main navigation menu (eighth one on) and is simply entitled "About Julie". Here you'll find information about my family, what inspires me in my art, and a short history about my portrait work. Look out for the quote by Camille Corot - it's one of my favourites! The next tab down lists some of my portrait commissions, including the emmerdale ITV commission, and publicity work for Chichester Festival Theatre. The third tab tells you more about me as a painting teacher at Pallant House Gallery, with my work alongside people who encounter challenges in accessing the visual arts. This page also details some of the tutoring and workshops that I hold from time to time with other organisations. No site would be complete without a contact page, and this one is no exception! Here you can get in touch about a pet portrait via email, or make a note of my telephone number and give me a ring. If you fancy your chances at winning something, don't miss my quarterly prize competition , a chance to win one of my limited edition signed prints - it's a multiple choice question so there's a one in four chance of getting it right (always my favourite type of tests!) Look for the link to the competition - it's there in the lower right hand corner of each page.

Pet Portrait Directory

Since I started this website I've been assembling a large collection of links to various websites that I consider to be worth visiting. The Pet Portrait Directory (the "links" tab on the bottom navigation) is divided up into various pages around a topic or theme which are (almost) all related to either pets, or visual art in some way.

The first page you'll see in the links directory is the pet services section. Here you'll find links to pet directories, help with pet sitting and walking, and some more specialist areas of pet care such as products for handicapped pets. In the next section down, the pet food & supplies page offers a number of sites that sell dog food, healthy supplements for your pet, and foods which contain no by-products. In the pet gifts & tags section, you'll find lots of shopping gifts for your animal, such as treat jars, clothing and toys. Also here is a section on dog tags and collars. The next link down in the directory concerns the education, health and training of your pet. Here there are various resources such as ways to help your pet with separation anxiety, training books and DVD's, and pet health websites. If you're a border collie fan, be sure to check out the "Border Collie Museum" link - lots of information about the history and culture of the shepherd's dog. If you're planning a holiday and looking for a pet sitter or kennel services, then check the dog kennels & breeders link. Here there is also information on dogs and pets for sale. And if you're currently suffering from the loss of your pet, I've also created a links page with websites that offer advice and help in this situation. There are also some pet memorial suggestions here. In the horse resources section, you'll a wide range of equine related material, from breeders to horse sanctuaries, products to riding vacations. There's also resources for your cat now with it's own links page.

For me, the next area of the directory is the most exciting! This is where you'll find lots of links to some of my fellow artists and craftsmen (or should that be craftspeople?!) Here I divided the pages in to specialized areas. There are some remarkable portrait artists out there, working in a variety of media such as watercolour, pastel and oils. Check some of them out - many of them are available for commissioning. You'll also find portrait sculptor here and links to painters who can be commissioned for family paintings. My favourite page is the fine artists one. There's some truely beautiful paintings to discover here. I especially admire the work of Douglas Denvey and his "abstract landscape" acrylic paintings, and the scenes of Venice so skillfully depicted by Nick Sarazan. If portrait photography is your bag then you'll want to head over here. Especially worth mentioning is the sepia portraits of Kevin Geary, featuring sitters such as Leonard Bernstein and Dr. Henry Kissinger. (Kevin also has a website in the fine artists section, with some breath-taking abstract work). Perhaps you are looking to purchase an art print, or browse for a number of artists? I've also created an online art galleries section for art collectors and those who enjoy looking at modern and classic art. And if you're an artist and you're looking for materials or supplies, check out the art & craft suppliers section. Here you'll find framers, printers and art materials.

Dog Articles

Looking for advice on dog training? Or perhaps you need information about a specific breed of dog? Over the next few months I'm developing a dog articles directory to the website. It's categorized into sections such as health and wellbeing, training and grooming, breeds and lifestyle. I'll be adding new articles each month so do check back often!

If you run a blog or website (or even a facebook or myspace site) and would like to link to this site, please visit the link information page. Here you'll find a number of different linking options such as text and banner links. If you'd like to do a link exchange with my site, please email me with your details and the page that you are proposing to place my link on. I'll then take a look at it and let you know if this will be possible. I only consider link exchanges with sites that are family friendly, that are topic related to this site, and that have google page rank value.