Pet Portrait Commissions

Commission a Pet Portrait by Fine Artist Gary Armer

Beautiful pet portraits painted in oils.

Why Commission a Pet Portrait?

A commissioned painting is timeless. A piece of fine art that is uniquely yours, or a gift to be enjoyed for generations. It can record a special moment, capture the character of an animal or celebrate the life of a cherished pet.

Great paintings of pets capture the true essence of the animal, in a way that portrays what makes them special. From your initial enquiry to the final paint stroke, capturing a brilliant likeness of your cat or dog is at the heart of my work.

I’m a contemporary realist painter and paint in a traditional, representational style. I love to capture the essence of a beloved pet with painterly, energetic alla prima portraits.

Get in touch

You can contact me directly via phone or email below, or, complete the form to organise a consultation where I will discuss your initial ideas for the painting and happily answer any questions. Please feel free to send through any photos of your pet that you think would make a good reference for the painting.

Alternatively, read on to find out more about the commission process and see examples of pet portraits and a price guide.

Contact the artist to discuss your pet portrait requirements.

“Completely blown away with how Gary managed to capture our handsome cat, Cookie in such an accurate and realistic way.

The artist is somehow able to make paintings come alive, what a talent. Thank you so much.”

Mr Richard Bradshaw

Portraits of Cats and Dogs

Painting During Social Distancing Restrictions

Having built up a reputation for painting portraits of people over the last 10 years I have been asked on numerous occasions whether I paint portraits of pets. I have always politely declined in preference of painting people… until now.

Due to the current social distancing restrictions to tackle the coronavirus I am unable to paint people and places from life and so I thought it was time to consider painting our furry friends!

I have spent hours in the studio working on an approach to these portraits which means they are energetic, capture a true likeness and relatively quick to paint.

During this period of social distancing I will be offering these alla prima pet portrait commissions on a first come, first served trial basis.

Pet Portraits from Photographs

Everyone has at least a few photographs (if not hundreds!) of their beloved pets which they believe perfectly sum them up.

In order to work around the lockdown I will be only painting pet portraits from such photographs supplied by clients as I will be unable to meet pets in person for sketches and to take my own reference photos.

The best photos will be clear and ideally have a single natural light source. Pictures taken of pets next to a window often work well.

To make it easy to cost the pet paintings I have settled on a standard size of 10″ x 8″ (25.4 x 20.3cm) with a composition that focusses on just the “head and shoulders” of the cat or dog.

If you would prefer a different size, composition or a series of paintings then please don’t hesitate to ask and I will work out a bespoke quote.

Pet Portrait Commission Price Guide

Dog Portraits in Oils

Alla Prima Dog Portraits in Oils: from £350

An alla prima painting is typically painted in a single day while the paint is wet (alla prima meaning ‘at first attempt’ or ‘wet-in-wet’).

This alla prima option is a great way for someone to commission a portrait of their dog but without the time commitment and higher costs of an academic painting (that can take weeks to build up in layers).

The £350 starting price gives a guide for commissioning an alla prima pet portrait at the same size (10″ x 8″ or 25.4 x 20.3cm), composition and level of detail as the examples shown.

The portraits are provided with a protective layer of Artist’s retouch varnish. Postage to UK addresses typically starts from £30. 

Portrait Painting of Dog

Cat Portraits in Oils

Alla Prima Cat Portraits in Oils: from £275

An alla prima painting is typically painted in a single day while the paint is wet (alla prima meaning ‘at first attempt’ or ‘wet-in-wet’).

This alla prima option is a great way for someone to commission a portrait of their cat but without the time commitment and higher costs of an academic painting (that can take weeks to build up in layers).

The £275 starting price gives a guide for commissioning an alla prima pet portrait at the same size (10″ x 8″ or 25.4 x 20.3cm), composition and level of detail as the examples shown.

The portraits are provided with a protective layer of Artist’s retouch varnish. Postage to UK addresses typically starts from £30. 

Portrait Painting of Cat

“Completely blown away with how Gary managed to capture our handsome cat, Cookie in such an accurate and realistic way.

The artist is somehow able to make paintings come alive, what a talent. Thank you so much.”

Mr Richard Bradshaw

About the Artist

I am a contemporary realist painter of portraits, landscapes and still life who lives and works in rural Lancashire, North West England.

Recognised for my accurate representational painting style and ability to capture intricate fine detail, the majority of my works are realist fine art oil paintings on canvas created entirely from life or from a combination of studies and photographs taken during live sittings or situations.

One of my portraits, “Not a Penny More” was selected for the 21st National Open Art Exhibition in 2017 and displayed in London. The portrait was also voted into the top 10 of the MS Amlin World Art Vote and went on to be exhibited at the National Football Museum in Manchester as part of the Football Is Art exhibition in 2019.

As well as completing pet portrait commissions I also paint portraits of people, houses, landscapes and still life paintings with a selection of recent works available to buy direct from my online shop.

Please bear in mind that I accept commissions alongside my other art projects and sometimes there may be a waiting list. Clients are served on a first come first served basis but I will always strive to meet any special requirements.

I consider Herbert James Gunn, John Singer Sargent, George Romney and Henry Raeburn as inspirational artists.

Gary Armer Realist Artist

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an academic portrait?

An academic portrait is a painting which is painted over numerous sittings using multiple layers of paint. The artist will typically complete a layer of the painting and allow it to dry before moving on to the next stage and painting over the top, often in glazes.

The underpainting of an academic portrait typically provides a framework for the latter stages with the outline, major shapes, shadow shapes, colours and tonal values established.

The following layers of paint will look to establish the likeness of the sitter and move toward refining colour and smaller details.

What is an alla prima portrait?

Alla prima is Italian for ‘at once’ as this type of painting is usually completed in a single sitting. This approach to painting is also often referred to as ‘wet-on-wet’ or ‘direct painting’.

Essentially alla prima portraits are painted with a much quicker, direct approach and with a looser finish.

What paint and surface is used for the paintings?

Gary works in quality artists’ oil paints on either a cotton or linen canvas or canvas board or panel and he can happily advise which surface would be best for your painting.

Currently the majority of the artist’s palette is made up of Winsor & Newton and Old Holland Artists’ oil paints.

How is the portrait painting created?

When painting from life the artist uses a combination of the sight-size technique and comparative measurement. Gary is more than happy to explain these techniques to the sitter during the course of a commission.

Where is the artist located?

The artist works from his private studio in the Lancashire countryside. He is based close to the market town of Poulton, in between Blackpool and Preston.

The artist welcomes clients to his studio by prior appointment and has painted for clients locally in Lancashire, Cumbria and Cheshire to name just a few locations.

Will the artist travel to complete a commission?

Yes, Gary can travel to your home or another suitable location such as your place of work to complete a portrait.

The artist has painted for clients in Lancashire, Cumbria, Cheshire, Hampshire and even Switzerland to name just a few locations.

How are the portraits delivered?

Wherever possible the artist prefers to deliver a completed portrait in person. Alternatively, clients are welcome to collect works from his studio by prior arrangement.

When delivery in person or collection is not convenient, the artist will arrange for the painting to be carefully delivered by a specialist courier.

Do portrait paintings need any special aftercare?

Most portraits are provided with a retouching varnish applied which helps protect the oil painting. In time you may wish to replace this removable varnish layer with a final artists varnish which Gary can help you with.

Gary always provides advice on looking after your painting upon delivery and explains the dos and don’ts on where to hang the final piece in your home.

Who owns the copyright of a portrait painting?

As is the norm with any work of art, the copyright automatically remains with the creator.

If the commissioned portrait is to be reproduced in another format or used for commercial purposes then Gary is more than happy to discuss such usage at the briefing stage.

How long do oil portraits take to dry?

An oil painting can typically take from 2 to 8 weeks to be ‘safely’ touch dry so a retouching varnish can be applied and the painting delivered to the client.

An oil painting will continue to fully dry (or cure) over time and this process can typically take over 6 months.

Contact the Artist to Discuss Your Requirements

If you are interested in commissioning a painting then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact me directly via phone or email below, or, complete the following form to organise a consultation where I will discuss your initial ideas for the painting, make suggestions and answer any questions.

Oil Painting of Cat

Contact the artist to discuss your pet portrait requirements.

“Within each painting I strive to capture not just the animal’s appearance but the attributes and quirks that make them such a cherished pet.”

Gary Armer | Artist

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 “…I’m absolutely delighted with the interpretation and feeling you have created in minute detail in the painting… the painting is going to be a wonderful memory of my year in office but it is also something we will enjoy for a long time to come for the workmanship and likeness it represents.”

Mr Sam Rayner, High Sheriff of Cumbria

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