Pastel artist Sandra Harris shares a collection of pet portraits with soulful eyes and unique personalities. See more by visiting her website.
I am a Tennessee artist living in the city of Brentwood, just outside of Nashville. My love of art began as a young girl when my parents gave me art supplies and many opportunities to practice my creative skills.
I majored in art at the University of Mississippi and earned a BA degree at the Watkins College of Art and Design in Nashville, Tennessee. I took my design skills and became a full time landscape designer while raising my family. Upon retiring in 2007, I immediately built a studio and began painting full-time.
I strive for realism in my pastel drawings and I love the challenge, usually beginning with the eyes of my subject. They are the most important detail for me as an artist.
Then I begin putting in the darkest and lightest values, slowly building the layers of the subject’s fur in the appropriate colors.
The final step is to go back in with my pencils and darken and lighten areas to make it look more three-dimensional. The final step is the most fun—adding in all the lightest hairs and whiskers.
I started out painting landscapes en plein air for many years, taking as many workshops as I could. Just recently I began working in pastels and discovered that I could capture animals in so much more detail than I was able to using oils or even watercolors.
I realized that what really gets me excited—details and animals.
My goal is to capture their personalities. Just like people, each one is unique and I capture this through their eyes and expressions. It is so rewarding for me to witness the pet owner’s joy and range of emotions when presented with their finished portrait. Here is a recent thank you note from a client:
I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for my portrait of Oscar. No matter how many times I look at it, I’m amazed at how realistic your work is! It’s been such a great source of enjoyment to our whole family. It bears repeating that you are so very talented. I look forward to seeing your future work. Love, Liza
I always give the credit to God for answering my prayers and for helping me create His beauty. To Him be all the Glory.