Custom Pet Portraits and Custom Pet Paintings and Digital Artwork
An Interview with Artist Wendy Beugels
If you haven’t noticed, I adore my pets. Dexter The Dog is my best friend and the best sidekick a girl could have. I love to be surrounded by things that remind me of Dexter or are from a part of his life. I have a few caricatures hanging in my room from pet events. I have a painting of his paw prints hanging above my bed. I have custom dog coasters with his image and loads of photos around and as my screen saver. But I have had one item on my bucket list for a long, long time and that was a custom pet portrait of him.
Art is a very personal thing and comes from the heart. For me, I’ve always been drawn to bold colors, bright colors, and being happy when I look at art. Finding a pet artist that specializes in custom dog portraits was actually pretty easy for me. I’ve been following and ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ over Wendy Beugels’s custom pet portraits and paintings for years!
I’ve shared her work on my personal Facebook page over the years, and have seen friends get their own custom pet paintings from her. Then, about a month ago on another one of my shares, my mom and step-dad surprised me with “we’re going to get you a custom digital print from Wendy!” OMG—I was ecstatic! I literally was jumping up and down like a little schoolgirl.
When I spoke with Wendy, she asked which portraits I felt a connection to, what my color theme was, and asked for a few photos of Dexter. I actually thought I would have a hard time choosing just one Dexter photo, but as I was browsing through the thousands of photos, one jumped out at me. My happy-go-lucky boy was smiling back at the camera, something he doesn’t do a lot of, and I knew this was the photo.
It wasn’t long before Wendy sent me an image she created for approval, and I again started to squeal and jump around. Perfect! The custom pet portrait of Dexter The Dog was just stunning. I couldn’t have even imagined a better result. I sent the digital image off to my local Walmart to have printed on a 20 x 20 canvas. The print was actually printed from a Fuji lab, not Walmart’s in-house lab.
Finally, after about a week and a half, the custom canvas was ready. Yes, I practically ran to the counter and ripped open the box to view the print. Seriously—I was blown away at how wonderful his portrait looked. The colors were vibrant, and it truly looked like Wendy had painted it right there on that canvas.
Some people may find my hanging placement odd, but I wanted to be able to view this canvas as often as I possibly could, so it’s in my office, next to my to-do bulletin board. I spend a lot of time at my computer, and this way I only have to turn slightly to see the print, and I can always see it/him out of my corner of my eye.
Needless to say, I am more than happy with the entire experience working with Wendy and creating a special piece of art representing Dexter. I think she captured him perfectly. I’m a curious creature, so I asked Wendy if she would agree to a short interview. She kindly agreed. I hope you find her story and process as interesting as I have.
1. What inspired you to become an artist? Was there ever a specific moment or event?
“Ever since I was a little child, I have been interested in art. My mother and I spent a lot of our afternoons drawing, painting, and crafting together. At school art was my favorite class and I loved to participate in drawing contests. I went to study Fine Art and after receiving my Bachelor’s degree, I moved to the States, where I began to make custom portraits and football paintings for people. To make people happy with custom paintings was such a rewarding feeling. Then my life took a different way and I moved back to Holland, where I worked as a graphic designer at a newspaper for several years until I decided I cannot live without making art and having my freedom. So now I have my own creative studio making portraits/paintings again, and combining it with my graphic designs.”
2. What mediums do you currently use?
“To make my traditional paintings, I use high-quality acrylic, oil paint and spray paint on linen. At the moment, I make a lot of digital paintings. I use a digital art pen and tablet that allows me to ‘sketch’ like the traditional way, using digital art materials that have similar visual characteristics like water color, oil paint, pastel, charcoal, etc. When the painting/portrait is finished, I send it to the customer by email, and they can get it printed on canvas themselves. This way, overseas shipping costs, shipping time, and material costs are eliminated, and it also gives me the freedom to work everywhere at all times, like when I am traveling. I try to find different ways to make art available for every budget.”
3. What is your creative process like?
“My creative process starts with inspiration, which I can get from anything and everywhere: color schemes and shapes in nature, architecture and decorative elements in foreign countries, people’s faces riding the subway, walking in the forest or cemetery, watching a movie. Inspiration can be found everywhere. The ideas that come to mind, I write down or doodle in a sketch book which at a later time I use in painting. While I am making my art, I create my own little alone world without phone or people, so I can fully focus on my work which comes with some discipline and a certain loneliness.”
4. What inspires you most during a painting?
“It’s actually the entire setting. The music I listen to, the smell of paint and burning incense, the birds and cats outside that come and visit, pictures of the person or animal that I am painting hang on my wall, color inspirations.”
5. What is the most challenging part about doing custom work?
“Custom work is very personal. I try to connect with the customer. Sometimes it can also be very emotional. When a customer commissions a portrait of their loved one that passed away, there’s a lot of sadness, but the portrait has to become a positive way to remember the person/animal. I try to capture the joy and their personality, and transfer happiness through the portrait.”
6. How did you end up with so many Cavalier clients?
“My Robin was a Cavalier, and once I made a painting of him that I showed in a FB Cavalier group. Then people wanted to have a portrait made of their own Cavaliers. From there on, the orders from Cavalier clients kept coming. The more paintings I made, the more examples I had to show, and the more new Cavalier customers came.”
7. Is there a subject or animal you find most challenging?
“I really enjoy making portraits of any animal or person, musicians and athletes, even statues. Hereby there is a reference as example, and I can combine it with my own interpretation of what I see: color, shape, movement. Maybe the most challenging subject is free work: paint my own thoughts and views, where there is no visual reference but all has to come from imagination alone.”
8. What is your favorite subject matter and medium?
“That would be people/pet portraits with traditional oil paints on canvas in happy bright colors.”
What do you think of Dexter’s digital art portrait? Tell me in the comments.
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