Pip Falkner-Lee's delicate and detailed animal portraits are hand-drawn (not traced) and painted in watercolour or oils. She uses the finest brushes to capture every detail of the texture of the fur and the shine in their eyes.
I get great pleasure from painting small, intimate portraits of animals; spending many hours to create a lasting tribute to your much-loved pet.
Quite recently a 4-minute film was made of 'The Painting of Woody', a Working Cocker Spaniel, which gives an insight into what happens when you commission a painting from me. There's a time lapse sequence of an entire painting in 90 seconds, so you can see how the image evolves - it takes many, many hours of work in real time! The soundtrack is Jon Martyn's beautiful song 'Couldn't Love You More', so do turn up the sound.
How the paintings are made
My watercolour paintings are made using 'miniaturist techniques' and in this way I can capture the most subtle nuances of the animal: sometimes it feels like I'm painting almost every hair! Because of this I believe my paintings invite the viewer to really explore the detail and remember or even see for the first time, special characteristics of their pet. As one customer kindly said "sometimes I don't know whether I'm looking at the live dog or the dog in the portrait! ".
There is always so much beauty in an animal's eyes, so I begin by painting the eyes to capture their personality and individual expression. The rest of the likeness and characteristics, like the shine and texture of the fur then develop gradually around the focal point.The finished image of the head and shoulders is usually 10-12cm for watercolour or drawings, with the framed portrait being about 30 x 40cm. Oil portraits are slightly larger, with the head about 15-18cm on a 25x30cm canvas with a background colour added. These small paintings are easy to hang in your home and hopefully will give you pleasure every time you stop to look closely at the fine detail and you'll see your pet's spirit in the light in their eyes.
What's involved in commissioning a portrait
To help me become familiar with your pet's personality and individual characteristics, ideally I would like to come to your home to meet them and take photos in the setting where they are most relaxed. I'll also make notes and sketches and take some video to serve as a reminder when I'm back in the studio. I'll send you all the photos I take and ask you to choose one favourite as the main reference for the painting and I'll work towards capturing this particular expression.
I can also work from your own photos if it's not possible to visit you at home and this also works well, especially if we can have a chat about your pet's personality and it would also be helpful if you can send me some video to give me a three dimensional view.
You can decide whether you'd like the painting framed and I'm happy to discuss the best options with you.
The finished painting can be collected from my studio in Bath, England or I can post it using Royal Mail Special Delivery worldwide.
PRINTS, ENLARGEMENTS and CARDS can be made from your painting. I'll be happy to provide information about these on request.We'll discuss whether you'd like your portrait to be done in watercolour or pencil on paper, or oil on canvas. If I'm working from your photos without meeting the animal, it may be best to opt for oil as there is a little more room for manoeuvre and your own input, as I work towards the best possible likeness and a three dimensional representation.