Sit! Stay! Pose! The Art of Capturing a Pet Portrait

Huntsville fine artist Leslie Lockhart in her studio

Leslie Lockhart is a well known local artist. She uses her interior design background and southern roots to create contemporary works with a nod to an easy going place and time.  Her still life work is vibrant and her style loose and free-flowing. Cotton, cows, all types of flowers, veggies and even a river-side catch all garner her interest and become beautiful subjects for Leslie’s canvases. But some of her most interesting commissions have been portraits of pets – and she has been painting them for over 13 years. Beside the everyday cat and dog, Leslie has painted a pet bird and even a squirrel that was the mascot for a sorority house! 

pet portrait huntsville al jack russell terrier

When we asked how she captures the personality of the pet in her portraits, Leslie shared the feature she pays the closest attention to – the eyes. She feels that if an artist cannot get the eyes right, it will not be a successful painting. Capturing the shape and reflection points in the eyes are the key the capturing the real sprit of the animal.

pet portrait dachshund

Very few of our pets would be patient enough to sit for a portrait, so Leslie usually works from photographs. She asks clients to provide the clearest photos possible so she can ensure that every detail is included. Occasionally Leslie is able to meet the pet before creating the portrait – which she says has to be one of the best perks of painting pet portraits! 

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Every commissioned portrait through history has lasting value. And for many of us, our pets are our family. A pet portrait like this is something that will be cherished for a lifetime. From photograph to portrait – Leslie’s attention to detail in capturing the personality of this cat really does show. Our favorite details from this portrait are how she captured the tiny markings around the cat’s nose as well as the softness of the cat’s paws. Sit! Stay! Pose! and LIVE. LOVE. LOCAL. with Leslie Lockhart.