Evie Sparkes is a published novelist. She also writes blogs about improving mental wellbeing and leading a calmer, more productive life.
A Re-discovered Passion
Wiltshire based pet portraits, wildlife and more, in colour-pencil and pastel. Lynda Rugg lives in a picturesque part of Wiltshire with her husband Nick, boxer dog Granville and 2 rescue cats, Clarence and Maisie Jo.
Lynda enjoyed drawing as a child and loved art classes at school but never went any further than 'O' levels. As happens with many people, she left school, work and life took over, and actually, she didn't start drawing again for many years. Life takes over and the day to day stuff, we let get in the way until one day, we remember that we have this awesome passion that has been hiding away inside of us. It sort of nudges us and reminds us that it is there and ready to show itself to the world.
'Back in 2017, I picked up a colour pencil and started drawing. I practised and gained skills by entering online challenges through magazines and websites. I was drawn by my love of animals to pet portraits and animals although my interests are varied and growing. I don't only paint pets, but it's become something of a speciality. I suppose you'd say that I am known for my animal portrait commissions.'
'It's always been more important for me to catch the character of each animal I paint. There are technical painters and there are those like me, who prefer to concentrate on bringing that much loved pet's character out on the canvas.'
Capturing Pets From a Photograph
The best pictures are taken at eye level and with detail where the light is fairly even so that both sides can be seen and the eyes are visible. It may also help to provide more than one photo so that fur patterns and colours can be seen clearer...
How Clear Does the Photograph Have to Be?
'When it comes to pet portraits...the better the photo is, the clearer the detail, the easier and better the finished painting will be.'
A Fine Example!
Capturing Your Pet in The Moment
Photographs are lovely. We have lots of them. Pictures of our pets coming out of our ears, but a painting really is something else isn't it? The details that is paid to the eyes for example. The eye's really do have it. It's one thing to get them technically right, but it's a whole other thing to capture the essence of your pet in them.
Lynda's paintings really do that. You can almost feel their presence as you look at the painting.
A Work in Progress
'I have been using Caran d'Ache watercolour pencils on this piece and it's always really important to use colour swatches of these pencils as the colour can change so much, and be super-vibrant, when you add water....if you're not careful you end up with a really over colourful picture'
There's More to Lynda than Cats and Dogs
Personally, I love horses. I have never ridden one as they also terrify me a little. But there is just something about them. I think it's the look in their eyes. They look so thoughtful and smart. Like there is so much more going on in there than we can possibly imagine. Not really classed as pets I guess, but I asked Lynda if she'd ever painted one.
'A friend asked if I painted horses? Only ever drawn one, I showed her that and she asked if I could draw hers? She gave me such a fantastic photo...how could I refuse?
'It's always a little daunting stepping outside of our comfort zone but throwing oneself into a new challenge is also exciting. Every now and again we need these challenges, if only to show us what we are actually capable of.'
Dogrose and Catnip Art
Lynda works from home. Dogrose and Catnip is the perfect name for her growing pet portrait commission business. Lynda probably thinks that business is an odd word to use. After all, she paints beautiful pictures for a living. Surely that can't be work.
'To get up in the morning and do what you love. Life does not get any better than that.'
It surely doesn't.
Evie Sparkes (author) on August 31, 2021:
Most definitely I will. :)
Dbro from Texas, USA on August 18, 2021:
I enjoyed this article very much! Your friend, Lynda Rugg, is quite talented. This piece reminds me of an article I wrote for HubPages a few years ago about painting portraits of dogs. I work in watercolor, and I love painting dogs. Perhaps you'll check out my article as well: https://hubpages.com/art/Going-to-the-Dogs-Waterco...