Dog Portraits Review - A Merryvaluation
by Angie McKaig
Details. Life is about the details; all the little quirks and happenstances and peccadilloes that make a life the rich tapestry or symphony that it is.
When we were contacted by Nicole Momaney of Painted Pet Menagerie about doing a Merryvaluation portrait of the princess, we were thrilled to discover that Nicole, too, is all about the details.
Like all good relationships, this one starts with the conversation, the getting-to-know-you period. Nicole's not going to jump in with the standard questions; first, she wants to know about the room you plan to hang the portrait in. What palette does it use? What about the light source(s)? Often, she'll have customers either send her a photo of the room where the final piece will be hung, or have them describe it to her so that she can go off and do her own research.
It's all part of going the extra mile, folks... and that's something I have always held in high regard.
For us, I wanted to do something a little different. Once Nicole chose the photo she wanted to work from, I knew exactly what I wanted: a kind of winter funland, only covered with treat bones and pink balls, a place where the princess could truly be happy. :) I talked with Nicole once or twice about it, giving her links to source photos for the pink balls I wanted in the piece, and then we got down to discussing specifics. While she's excited to come up with settings all on her own, it's also uniquely challenging to take suggestions like this from the customer and work them into a piece to remember.
Painted Pet Menagerie portraits can be on paper, suitable for framing, or on canvas. Paper's a far more popular option (most folks like to work with a framer, presumably) but I'm a big fan of wrapped canvas, so that's what I asked for. Most pieces are done in 10x14 or 12x16 format, though other sizes are available... we chose the former.
I was really impressed by the level of detail and the dedication that Nicole shows during our "conversation" phase, and also the amount of input she allowed me to have along the way. She sent me several emails during her work on the piece... at the finished sketch stage, to ensure I was pleased with the direction she took (I was!) and once or twice during the painting, to let me see how things were progressing. That's a kind of open communication that doesn't happen with every artist, so it's something to treasure when you find it.
The finished piece was emailed to me just a few short weeks later, and Nicole asked if I wanted any changes. I did, for once, actually request one... I felt Merry's little fur face was a little dark in the piece, darker than she "actually is in real life", so I asked for it to be lightened. Nicole tackled the problem without a peep and got back to me in short order with a new, lighter Merry.
But it was seeing the artwork in person that finally showed all of Nicole's brilliance. The detail is incredible - all the trees have tiny little tennis balls and treats hanging from them (going back and back... until really small), and the larger renditions of the bones coming up from the snow were fabulous. She got Merry's play balls spot on and as for the pooch herself... I loved the big thick "ruff" and the adorable princess pug head tilt.
We were absolutely thrilled with the finished piece. Nicole did such a great job, and this painting will definitely get a place of honor on my wall. If you're looking for a great pet portrait by a dedicated, passionate artist who really cares about all the little details of her job... Painted Pet Menagerie is definitely the place for you.
You can find out more about Painted Pet Menagerie from their web site at www.paintedpetmenagerie.com.