Category: Pets, People, etc

Pet Portrait: Sadie

8″x10″ acrylic, 2013. This beautiful yellow lab is named Sadie, but children in the classrooms Sadie has visited want to know why she is not called “Salt!” Just like her companion Pepper, Sadie earned an American Kennel Club Canine Citizenship award working as a therapy dog. Sadie joined Sami’s family when she was eight months old. Now eight years old, Sadie is described by Sami as being a very “Marley and Me” kind of dog… They have chased her down highways and she’s eaten many a loaf of bread off the kitchen counter. Over time “Sadie-Bug” has proven to have some endearing quirks: She is afraid of stairs and is especially fearful of feet moving under bed-covers! She is a great traveller and enjoys cruising around in the family’s VW Beetle. Sadie is now the favorite friend of Sami’s little boy Samuel, who learned to say “‘Adie” just after “Momma” and “Daddy!”

Pet Portrait: Pepper

8″x10″ acrylic, 2013. Pepper had countless charms and accomplishments, including an American Kennel Club canine good-citizenship award for her work as a therapy dog. Eleven years ago this weekend, Pepper was found as a six-month-old stray, scavenging and tormented by local kids. Once rescued, she was only apart from Sami for about 12 days over her lifetime, and traveled everywhere with her. When Pepper was four, the family got a lab named Sadie. The two dogs attended obedience school together, where Pepper flourished, amazing everyone with such tricks as covering her face demurely with her paws when Samie would ask, “are you shy?” Pepper loved obstacle courses and could jump through hula hoops. She could escape from almost any cage, fence, or room, and nimbly climb almost anything to reach food. Pepper became a therapy dog at age five, visiting hospitals and nursing homes, school reading programs, and a library program for autistic children. The tags hanging from Pepper’s collar were well-earned, and I’m honored to have painted this extraordinary dog!


4″x5″ acrylic on cardboard, 2013. This lucky baby with his amazing cloud of diaphanous hair is the son of my dear friends Jon and Brian, both teachers, who are kind of a big deal! After already having already been married once in front of family in friends and then again in Canada, a triumphant photo of their legal New York State marriage at the Albany City Hall ran in the New York Times. Ian joined the family soon after and is the most easy-going, sweet baby you could ever hope to ride with for hours and hours in a car, as Jon and Brian have discovered with on their frequent travels. This year I also painted Ian’s stuffed owl and his classic Sophie the Giraffe.

Pet Portrait: Oliver, Sophie, and Chex

8″x10″ acrylic, 2012. I knew I was in for a treat when I recieved the commission to paint this trio of pets from Andrew of Keep Albany Boring! Andrew is a phenomenal photographer, so I was sure to have beautiful, well-lit source material to paint from. How endearing is a huge dog who snuggles with cats? Ridiculous. The two cats, Oliver (white and caramel), Chex (black kitten,) and Sophie the dog belong to Andrew’s friends, who are also his roommates. The portrait was a gift for them for Christmas.

Pet Portrait: Lonnie

8″x10″ acrylic, 2012. A couple of years ago, two of my favorite people got married. As a gift I painted a their dog Jack, but it was really a portrait of the huge braided rug that dominates their living room. Matthew is a Swiss Army knife of musical talent and Erin is a gifted and prolific knitter of beautiful things. They both adore animals and have quite the menagerie of pets! Last month Erin and Matthew commissioned this painting of Erin’s family’s Muppet-y labradoodle Lonnie as a Christmas gift for Erin’s mother.

Pet Portrait: Teddy

8″x10″ acrylic, 2012

According to the Chinese calendar, this 2012 has been the year of the phoenix — but over her at Your Toy Portrait, it is most definitely the year of the pet dog! I have painted nearly as many dogs as toys this holiday season. This cute schnauzer, Teddy, belongs to Heathir’s mother-in-law and will be a gift to her this Christmas. Heathir previously commissioned a portrait of her beloved childhood Cabbage Patch Doll, which I now realize I never posted on this website. So watch for the story of that classic toy over the next few days!

Pet Portrait: Baxter

8″x10″ acrylic, 2012.
Sarah, who found me on etsy, commissioned this painting of Baxter as a Christmas gift for her husband. Their sweet, snaggle-toothed Lhasa Apso is 6 years old and is a champion of both tennis and frisbee. Don’t be fooled by his placid, almost stoic expression… Baxter is quite the comedian! This has certainly been the year of the real live pet over here at Your Toy Portrait. I’ve painted just about as many pets as toys so this holiday portrait painting season so far — Such a pleasure for me!

Pet Portrait: Rockie

8″x10 acrylic, 2012. This portrait honors Rockie, a beloved pet dog who recently lost his battle with cancer. Rockie was 13 years old and belonged to Allison and her three children, 15, 13, and 11. Although his nickname was “Rockstar,” Rockie was a very sweet-tempered black lab. Sami commissioned this portrait as a Christmas gift for Allison and her family.

Santa Toto

My job would not be half as fun as it is without Mary, who has come back to me repeatedly with projects that are as hilarious as they are heartfelt! For her grown children, Mary has commissioned portraits of a CatDog, a RugRat, and a stuffed Toy Story Alien. When she contacted me about immortalizing the family’s beloved dog dressed in a Santa suit, I shouldn’t have been suprised, but I burst out laughing anyway! She bought the Santa suit a decade ago, and every Christmas morning her family waits to open gifts until “Santa” has arrived! This portrait has special importance, Mary tells me, because Toto is now almost twenty years old. The painting will be brought out yearly as a Christmas decoration. Marys is clearly very attuned to the things that mean most to those she loves.


6″x8″ acrylic on cardboard, 2012. This painting, the second of two portrait gifts for Kathleen from Paul, features their three-year-old son Asa. I have experienced Asa’s ardor for trucks and trains first-hand, as Asa and Sonja sometimes get to play together. He imbues them with vigorous, joyful personalities, and expresses his deepest good will by offering his favorites to his playmates to borrow. It was such a pleasure to paint his sweet, striking face, which in person is incredibly animated — Paul tells me that it was nearly impossible to get him to be still long enough for a decent photo! Here are my recent portraits of Sonja and Asa side-by-side: