Articles on Pet, Dog and Horse Portraits by Joanna Culley

This part of the site is dedicated to bringing you up to date news of exhibitions that I am part of, pet portrait articles, and general snippets that might be of interest to animal lovers.

Summer News 2012

Sydney The Jack Russell Terrier Portrait

Its been a great and busy year in 2012 so far completing animal paintings, my most recent portrait is this one, of Sydney the Jack Russell Terrier. The aim for the coming Autumn is to make my portraits more available through selling prints as wall art, plus extra items which will be available through an online shop. This means both commissioning customers and the general public will be able to buy my portraits on gift items such as mugs, bags, key rings, cards, T-shirts, Travel mugs and a range of other items. This is my next project and will be available from the Autumn 2012 so in time for Christmas 2012 and beyond. The items will be made available as an online shop and access to the shop will be clearly marked from my home page.

Portraits for International Customers

We are the World Wide Web after all, and I receive many commission requests from overseas customers. To assure you the process is simple, I usually work from emailed photos anyway and my email can handle images of over 5Mb each (please only send 1x 5Mb image per email though!). I complete the portrait in the same process as for my UK customers, by choosing the best photo and pose, agreeing on the size and medium, agreeing a due date and finally raising paperwork for a 50% deposit, with balance upon completion. We have a PayPal account and complete money transactions that way, which works particularly well for overseas customers. I send the portrait via FedEx or UPS usually, and this ensures safe delivery. Charges for postage are added to the final invoice.

Updates and Usefull Info for those Christmas Gift Ideas

This is a reminder on the availability of Gift Certificates. As a busy artist there is often a waiting list, therefore, this is a great way to overcome those short deadlines. It ensures the gift arrives on time, plus has the added advantage that the recipient can be involved with their portrait and choose their favorite photos and pose for me to use.

Tips on Taking your own Photos ready for a Portrait

I have written a page specifically about taking your own photos of your pet. And this serves as an extra helpful reminder to look here for tips on taking your own photos, and ensuring the photos have correct angles and perspective that help the artist ultimately create a better drawing and a better final painting. It is all in the preparation and always works so much better when you can provide great quality photos. Read the Photography Tips for Pet Portraits.

Dogs Today Information

Joanna Recognised by Dogs Today Pet Paw Trait Artist Awards

I have been featured on the Dogs Today Magazine, in the June issue. Dogs Today concentrated on a few chosen pet artists, showcasing the work with a special campaign for 'Dog Paw-Trait Artist if the Year' competition. I came runner up so there is something to aim for next year!

This feature was brilliant PR for me, and fun to be part of and thank you to all those who voted for me.

Joanna Exhibiting at the Mall Galleries, London

Equine study, Showtime, by Joanna Culley

As a member of the Society of Equestrian Artists a piece of my work was selected for their annual London summer exhibition. I was thrilled that my work has been selected for this prestigious event and will be shown alongside Britain's leading equestrian artists. The exhibition on for a week at the Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5BD.

An exhibition of the best of Equestrian art with a show featuring over 300 works, paintings, sculpture and original print. From classic studies to fluid impressions, cool bronzes to striking contemporary canvases, frenzies of colour to the clean lines of bold print, all are represented in this comprehensive show.

Entry is free, see the society website for more details

Useful Info when choosing a medium for your Pet Portrait

With regards to choosing the medium for your pet portrait I have outlined the differences so that you can choose a custom made picture that is most suitable for you, and your pet portrait subject!


Pencil drawings are always popular. Pencil is a sensitive medium and used well it can really capture the detail of any animal. As an artist I strive to create the effect of realism and pencil really allows me to capture intricate detail. Pencil is used to create tonal values, from black to white and all the vast shades in between. I always use top quality paper and pencils to assist in the creation and in the the preservation of the piece. The finish always looks professional and unique.


I use watercolour a little differently to some artists, as I like to see depth of colour. Watercolour has a translucent look normally, where the artist creates soft tones and colours, where as I like to use them in a more bold fashion. I will lay the initial colours down as a wash, but spend most of my time painting in fine detail with a small bush, building up the colour as much as I can. My aim is to create as good a likeness as possible, aiming to produce a painting that is 3D. The goal is to make the pet portrait stand out from the page. The subtle translucency of watercolour is also sometimes enhanced with a little gouache paint, so that I can really bring out the fine whiskers, hair and other characteristics of the animal I am painting. The finished article will have depth of colour and be a very real depiction of the chosen animal.

Pet Portraits Make the Papers

Pet Portraits made got a big spread in the Dail Mail on 3rd December 2007 when Eimear O'Hagen wrote about them. Although the article claims that pet Portraits is a craze which I think is rather an exaggeration, it was good to see pet portraits getting main stream coverage. I didn't have any of my paintings featured but there were some great examples of animal art.

It was great to see the joy that these paintings bring to people, something I always love when I get to hand over a pet portrait in person. People are clearly picking up on this more as many of the people had said that they received the pet porraits as gifts. I too am doing more pet portraits as gifts and now provide pet portrait gift certificates for those who cannot sneak the pictures needed for me to paint a surprise portrait! It also helps those that leave getting a present at the last minute.

Baby the Bionic Cat

I read about this cat and I justed wanted to share this with you. A cat in London fell from a third floor window and needed to be taken to the vets for treatment. When the vet was x-rayed they not only found the sad news that it needed treatment for broken bones, but it had happened before. Metal rods and pins are now in all of baby's legs. Showing true cat resilience she seems to have made a complete recovery. The photograph of the x-ray shows the extent of the work that she has needed!

Cat X-Ray