Lotti Brown Designs

-- Art to Give us Joy, Love, and Energy Through our Connection with Nature and our Pets -- Pet Art & Custom Pet Portraits - Wildlife & Bird Art - Floral Art --

Awesome Places to Connect with Nature (...and you can bring your dog!) Part 1 - Shropshire Hills

behind the scenes, inspiration, nature, personal musingsCharlotte BrownComment

Connecting with nature is so important to our well-being - taking time to connect with the green of the natural world, space away from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, and an opportunity to reconnect with our true inner self, our thoughts and emotions, and with those we love...

For me, it's important to get to this inner place so that I can make my art - but it's also essential for my own (and all of our!) health and well-being, too...

With this series of blog posts, I hope to inspire you to explore some of the wilder natural places - places where you can really feel the energy of nature reviving you...

This is a really special natural place to connect with nature - out in the Shropshire hills up close to nature and close to the sky...

 Connecting with nature at the Stiperstones

Connecting with nature at the Stiperstones

On holiday recently, we stayed in the beautiful Shropshire hills and walked up into the Stiperstones National Nature Reserve and visited the Devil's Chair stone...

We felt really connected to nature on this walk - out in the hills away from the hustle and bustle of the towns and villages - just birds overhead and lots of sky - a time to reflect and connect...

 Stiperstones view

Stiperstones view

 Gorse and Shropshire hills

Gorse and Shropshire hills

We walked up quiet, stony lanes with primroses, forget-me-nots, bluebells, and purple honesty flowers in the hedge verges along with the occasional daffodil. Beautiful flowers and so much colour and life - lovely to see!

 Forget-me-nots growing wild in Shropshire

Forget-me-nots growing wild in Shropshire

As we gradually climb, the flowery banks get taller and start to give way to hedgerows of tall hawthorns, not yet in flower, sheltering wild bilberries, called 'whinberries' locally.

 Lovely meandering Shropshire lanes

Lovely meandering Shropshire lanes

 Whinberries growing wild in the Shropshire hills

Whinberries growing wild in the Shropshire hills

As we climb further, the shady lane opens up into moorland filled with yellow-flowering gorse.

 Leaving the farmland behind and entering moorland

Leaving the farmland behind and entering moorland

There's no shelter from the sun and the air is filled with the coconut scent of the gorse flowers - actually, this is one of my favourite smells and always takes me back to special places like West Wales as a child, or more recent holidays in Skye and Islay - it reminds me of being out, quiet, in nature and it smells like summer!

 Out in nature with the sun, sky and brilliant colours is so re-energising!

Out in nature with the sun, sky and brilliant colours is so re-energising!

The colours look fantastic and they help us to feel really energised - great for that climb as there's still a way to go!

 Surrounded by vibrant yellow gorse on the moorland

Surrounded by vibrant yellow gorse on the moorland

We pass a blackened, gnarled gorse bush which still has the aroma of smoke around it - a moorland fire, luckily extinguished swiftly by some watchful soul.

Still we climb and the air cools and the gorse is gone. The path lies deep within banks of whinberry and heather - bright green with berries still red, the heather not yet in flower, still dry and brown.

 Looking back at our path up through a moorland of whinberry and heather

Looking back at our path up through a moorland of whinberry and heather

There's no shelter here and we're exposed to the elements as we continue to ascend, the rocky path beneath our feet and warm sunshine fighting with cool winds against our faces.

A tiny flutter of green across our path turns out to be a Green Hairstreak butterfly, cunningly disguised as it perches almost invisible amongst the whinberry leaves... Exciting to see - it's a butterfly I've never seen before!

 Can you spot the Green Hairstreak butterfly here? (There is one - honest!)

Can you spot the Green Hairstreak butterfly here? (There is one - honest!)

We seem to pass beneath the Devil's Chair rock and stop at a waymarker where the path goes four ways...

 Looking up to the Stiperstones

Looking up to the Stiperstones

Up here on the hills, we feel close to the sky, alone amongst nature, free and alive.

 Noah appreciates a rest at the top of the hill - he's much more a sit-and-watch sort of dog than a long-walk sort of a dog!

Noah appreciates a rest at the top of the hill - he's much more a sit-and-watch sort of dog than a long-walk sort of a dog!

 Looking across at the Shepherd's Rock (Scattered Rock)

Looking across at the Shepherd's Rock (Scattered Rock)

We sit for a while, quietly, resting and refuelling. We can see for miles all around us. We are nearly 1750ft above sea level - just us, rocks, sky and heather...

 It's a great view from up here!

It's a great view from up here!

...oh, and a couple of pleasant walkers who pass us, greeting us warmly, bedecked in cool summer shirts and sun hats... 

We call back to them and gaze wonderingly, as we feel the chill winds whip around us, and pull our jackets tighter.

As we progress along the ridge, the way becomes very rocky. It's easy to stumble here so we need to concentrate on where we're going and not looking around at what's around us.

 Walking the rocky Stiperstones ridge to the Devil's Chair

Walking the rocky Stiperstones ridge to the Devil's Chair

The clouds darken as we reach the Devil's Chair and I worry about lightning strikes. Is that thunder I hear or just the rumble of a passing plane?

The clouds feel close to us and quite heavy. There are warnings everywhere about lightning strikes and the legend of the Devil's Chair speaks of bolts of lightning should one have the audacity to actually sit in the Devil's Chair! Scary!

 The Devil's Chair

The Devil's Chair

We finally reach the rocks of the Devil's Chair - tall, hard, and grey.

Red Kites whirl past and a raven tumbles and folds itself elegantly into the rock.

We clamber ever up and eventually peer downwards between the shards...

 Admiring the view from the top of the Stiperstones

Admiring the view from the top of the Stiperstones

We look down past moorland and fields and follow the lines of pathways - it looks impossibly far down and I start to feel a little dizzy at the height.

Ian continues to explore a further crag - a rocky fortress on high, while I stay back a little with the dog, feeling a little in awe at this majestic natural place - a spire of the earth reaching up into the sky.

 View to Manstone Rock

View to Manstone Rock

Our walk down is much easier on the legs! We spot the grass-covered ruins of an old miner's cottage - humps and dips in the hillside surrounded by fruit trees and hawthorns which mark the boundaries of what was once a cherished home and garden high in the hills. 

 Signs of a life lived up on high - out in the wildest and most elemental parts of nature

Signs of a life lived up on high - out in the wildest and most elemental parts of nature

What it must be to live a life atop a hill!

So far from the hustle and bustle down below and more connected with nature and the elements out here where one could live free and unencumbered by the expectations of society...

 Path past the ruins - a beautiful natural place

Path past the ruins - a beautiful natural place

We feel revitalised and inspired after our walk out in the wilds of nature - this truly awesome natural place - in connecting with nature in this way, we feel more connected with our own selves, and each other - these are the moments that my art is all about and what I hope it will inspire for you too..!

Dog Walk Notes

  • This was a nice easy walk for the dog - a bit of a pull for him uphill, but wide paths and one stile with a gate that we could open to get him through. The ridge was a little rocky for him - he seemed quite sure-footed but we did worry a little about him injuring himself clambering over the rocks.
  • Dogs need to be kept on a lead at all times to protect the wildlife in this National Nature Reserve.
  • We did the walk from Pennerley Flats (just up to Devil's Chair rock and back again) but you can also easily access the Stiperstones from Stiperstones Village, Tankerville, and The Bog Visitor Centre (recommended) which has a large car park, toilets, information and refreshments (check opening times/dates).
  • Dress appropriately for your walk, take a good map, and be aware that weather conditions can change suddenly up on the hills.
 Feeling on top of the world connecting with nature

Feeling on top of the world connecting with nature

More Cool Places Nearby

Close nearby to explore is Tankerville old lead mine

 Ruins at the Tankerville lead mine

Ruins at the Tankerville lead mine

And the more extensive old Snailbeach Mine, which also does regular open days.

 Snailbeach Mine

Snailbeach Mine

A little further afield, we also enjoyed visiting Haughmond Hill woods with the dog - bluebells, woodland walks, toilets and a cafe...

 A great place for dogs to enjoy nature - Haughmond Hill

A great place for dogs to enjoy nature - Haughmond Hill

 Bluebells in the woods at Haughmond Hill

Bluebells in the woods at Haughmond Hill

 Woodland walk at Haughmond Hill

Woodland walk at Haughmond Hill

And the nearby beautiful ruins of Haughmond Abbey - a peaceful place to while away an hour or so - run by English Heritage.

 Noah admiring the view at Haughmond Abbey

Noah admiring the view at Haughmond Abbey

 Haughmond Abbey

Haughmond Abbey

Custom Dog Portrait Case Study - Cooper - Yorkshire to Australia

artworks, behind the scenes, drawings, pet artCharlotte BrownComment

 Dog portrait from a photo - Yorkshire to Australia

This custom pet portrait was for Dorothy in Yorkshire and was of Cooper, her son and daughter-in-law's lovely dog, who lives in Australia.

 Custom pet portrait of Cooper who lives in Australia

Custom pet portrait of Cooper who lives in Australia

One of the nicest things about being a pet portrait artist is when you're involved in creating a surprise gift for someone. Secrecy is of the utmost, and it can be a real challenge for the gifter to get the pet photos without giving the game away.

I think Dorothy had fun and games, coming up with reasons to tell her son and new daughter-in-law why she needed another photo of their dog, Cooper, and was quite worried that she wouldn't be able to get one of good enough quality coming from a mobile phone.

Luckily, she had loads to choose from and I was able to combine a very clear photo of Cooper's face, where the dog was wearing a jumper (which Dorothy didn't want to include), with one in an almost identical pose, where the body was clear enough, but her face was less clear.

 It's always easiest to work from one single photo, but sometimes, when secrecy must be preserved to save the surprise, we can get creative and work some artistic magic...! ;)

It's always easiest to work from one single photo, but sometimes, when secrecy must be preserved to save the surprise, we can get creative and work some artistic magic...! ;)

Usually people like to see the dog without a collar, but if the collar has special meaning, we can leave it in. Dorothy preferred me to show Cooper without her collar (...or her jumper!).

I discussed colours and backgrounds with Dorothy, and we decided to do three colour options for Dorothy to choose from, two of which were inspired by some of my artworks Dorothy particularly liked and one which was a more neutral option.

Here's how the artwork process went... Click on any image to see it larger and with further description of the process...

Dorothy had the incredibly difficult task of choosing her preferred background colour option. It can be especially difficult when you're choosing a gift for someone else, as it's not just your own colour preferences you have to take into account.

 Completed custom pet portrait - ready to fly from Yorkshire to Australia.

Completed custom pet portrait - ready to fly from Yorkshire to Australia.

As I had hoped... she decided on the neutral. I liked it the best myself, too, actually, but neutral is always a really sensible choice when you're choosing for someone else, unless you're absolutely sure of their preferences.

Dorothy was going to take the artwork in her suitcase with her so choosing the size of the artwork - and how large it would be when framed - was of the utmost importance - we discussed the options, and chose a size that was as large as possible but would still fit comfortably in the suitcase, together with protective wrappings - and still leave room for the clothes and other gifts that they were taking.

Very soon the custom pet portrait was ready for its big trip across the world to be a special surprise Christmas present for Dorothy's son and new daughter-in-law...

 "How worried I was that it would be intact!!. My heart was pounding when they unwrapped it on Christmas morning!  So relieved when it was opened and all intact!"
 Detail from the dog portrait

Detail from the dog portrait

Love the portrait, it is unique and individual, and really captures the likeness and shows the character of our son’s dog, who incidentally lives in Australia!

Would recommend Charlotte as nothing was too much trouble, finding out about sizes of frames and mounts, to discussions of sizes of actual portrait, to suggestions and choices of background colour, Charlotte was always very happy to help! And she makes a good cup of coffee too!
— Dorothy J, Yorkshire
 Dorothy and Cooper's custom pet portrait

Dorothy and Cooper's custom pet portrait

Would you like me to create a custom pet portrait for you to surprise that special someone...? Start here...

Or browse through my pet art gallery to see some more of my pet art, here...

 

Unplugging From Technology - Connecting to the Real World

behind the scenes, inspiration, nature, personal musingsCharlotte BrownComment

I've just come back from a wonderful week away with my husband and our dog, in the hills of Shropshire. With no mobile phone reception, we were completely unplugged from technology - and it was fantastic!

In this busy world of constant news and social media updates, it's important to be able to unplug from technology sometimes...

 Connect with nature to unplug from technology

Connect with nature to unplug from technology

Technology is wonderful and incredibly useful - it allows me to be at home writing this, and for you to read it, maybe hundreds or thousands of miles away. Awesome!

But the world reflected by social media and technology can seem overwhelming, too much.

It can trick us into believing that the world on our screens is the totality of the real world around us - the violence, the hatred, the ground-in bitterness. I see it on my internet every day. It seems pervasive, all around us.

But it isn't! The view from the world of technology and social media is skewed. It doesn't reflect all of the world - the world around us, right now, that we can reach out and connect with.

That's the world of beautiful natural places, flowers, the way your dog smiles and wags his greetings when you return home, the way the store assistant helped you out, a kindly smile from a stranger, a gentle word from a friend.

When you start to look out for these tiny connections and kindnesses, you will start to notice them more and more.

It's so easy to get lost in the concerns of the day or the worries of the wider world. Indeed, these are by no means unimportant...

But it's possible to bring some balance and unplug from technology. Take a walk outside and connect with nature - we all need some green in our lives! 

Reach out to a loved one - four-paws or two-legs, it doesn't matter. Make a connection and feel a part of the natural world around us.

My art can help you feel connected with nature, too. 

Feel connected and inspired!

Escaping Your Head - The Beauty of Connections

behind the scenes, inspiration, nature, personal musingsCharlotte Brown

In seeking out the green places, the natural world, I seek out connection - a connection with nature, the world and the realities of a life lived as part of the world, not in the world of concerns that we so often create inside our own heads.

A connection with our pets, our loved ones, or with nature makes us see and feel the beauty of the world around us and enables us to feel a certain gratitude for the world we are a part of.

We can seek out the world of nature in our everyday lives. Our connection with nature doesn't have to wait for a week's holiday or a day-trip to the country at the weekend.

We can connect and feel gratitude for the world we are a part of when we interact with our pets, when we see a bird or a tree, even through a window, when we stop for a moment to look at a vase of flowers in our home.

And of course, I hope that when you bring my art into your home, you are able to feel that sense of connection with, and love for, the world around us, too.

 So much in nature to love and feel grateful for. This Day in the Sun (Geraniums) art print can connect you with the feelings of warmth, sunshine, and summer flowers.

So much in nature to love and feel grateful for. This Day in the Sun (Geraniums) art print can connect you with the feelings of warmth, sunshine, and summer flowers.

Let me know, what in nature makes you feel most connected and most alive?

'Funny Pheasant' Art - Behind the Scenes

artworks, behind the scenes, nature, inspiration, shoppingCharlotte Brown

Colourful and contemporary pheasant art 'Funny Pheasant' art print...

 'Funny Pheasant' art print by Lotti Brown

'Funny Pheasant' art print by Lotti Brown

I see pheasants in the fields at home all the time and they're always so impressive with their colourful, shiny feathers - beautiful birds!

I love the expression of this very cheeky pheasant - such a striking fellow!

 Detail from my pheasant artwork

Detail from my pheasant artwork

Behind the Scenes of the Artwork

Take a look behind the scenes at how I created my pheasant artwork...

Click on the images to see the larger image and with further details about each step of the process...

 The completed pheasant artwork 'Funny Pheasant'

The completed pheasant artwork 'Funny Pheasant'

I love the curious, whimsical expression of my 'Funny Pheasant' and the beautiful colours of his intricate feathers. He makes me smile when I see him, and I hope he does the same for you...

 My colourful pheasant artwork is available as a framed or unframed giclee art print in my online art store

My colourful pheasant artwork is available as a framed or unframed giclee art print in my online art store

 Click image for all the print and frame options and details in my online store

Click image for all the print and frame options and details in my online store

'Funny Pheasant' Art Print
from 42.00
Style:
Print size:
Quantity:
Add To Cart

My 'Funny Pheasant' art print is available to buy in my online art store

You can see more of my nature and wildlife art in my themed art gallery

Your Pet Photo Becomes Art - Pet Portrait From Photo

pet artCharlotte Brown
 Pet portrait from photo

Pet portrait from photo

I won’t ever compromise on the photos I’ll accept. For your pet portrait, so much depends on the original photo. If your original photo is blurry, low quality, or if your pet is too far away, I won’t be able to draw the details in the face that I need to put into the portrait.

If your original pet photo doesn’t capture a good likeness or a special moment from your pet, then my artwork won’t either.

I want you to have a pet portrait that you will cherish for years to come, and I want to create an artwork that I can be proud of too.

If you’re not sure that your photo is good enough, please, just ask me – it won’t commit you to anything.

There’s actually lots of seeming problems that I can work around, so please don't just assume that your photo isn't good enough! – I can zoom in to take a closer look; I can lighten the picture to see the detail in dark areas; or if the poses are similar enough I may be able to use two photos for reference.

Even if it takes a couple of attempts to get the right photo, the results of the extra effort will be well worth it in the final pet portrait artwork.

Two-minute tips for the best results:

  • choose a time when your pet is feeling relaxed and happy
  • have your pet sit outside (because the light is usually better)
  • watch out for casting a shadow across your pet and try to avoid this
  • get fairly close
  • get down to their level (slightly to one side is usually best as it seems less confrontational to your pet so they'll feel happier)
  • focus on the eyes (even if they're not looking at you) and take a few photos
  • send me a few favourites to choose from
 Clear pet photo suitable for a pet portrait from photo

Clear pet photo suitable for a pet portrait from photo

 Here's the pet portrait I created from this photo

Here's the pet portrait I created from this photo

Get in touch and ask me about your photos (you will need to send them separately as there is no facility for sending photos on the form - I'll email you about sending them when I reply) -- or find out more about commissioning a custom pet portrait, here...

'Badger Woodland Walk' Artwork - Taking a Look Behind the Scenes

artworks, behind the scenes, drawings, nature, new collections, shoppingCharlotte Brown

Charming and colourful woodland badger artwork - 'Badger Woodland Walk' - a beautiful badger on his forest stroll between ferns and toadstools - a magical scene...

 'Badger Woodland Walk' art by Lotti Brown

'Badger Woodland Walk' art by Lotti Brown

When I was a child,I often used to watch badgers playing in a quiet field, each morning, as I went past on the school bus (great for seeing over the tops of hedges!). It was amazing - quite a magical sight. 

We so rarely get to see badgers that they seem quite elusive, magical and otherworldly - and it was this feeling that I wanted to create with my badger art print, showing a very dapper chappie taking his daily stroll through a colourful woodland of ferns and toadstools. An insight into a world we so rarely get the chance to be a part of...

 Badger art detail

Badger art detail

Behind the Scenes of the Artwork

Take a look at how I created my badger artwork from drawings and the computer...

Click on any of the images below to see the picture larger and get more details about each part of the process...

 My final badger art print 'Badger Woodland Walk'

My final badger art print 'Badger Woodland Walk'

I love the deep, dramatic colours and the shady woodland feel in this artwork - as well as the beautiful bright reds and greens and the quite magical feel of Mr. Badger's woodland stroll...

 My badger artwork is available as framed and unframed fine art prints from my online art store

My badger artwork is available as framed and unframed fine art prints from my online art store

 Click image for more details of print and frame options in my online store

Click image for more details of print and frame options in my online store

Badger Art Print 'Badger Woodland Walk'
from 42.00
Style:
Print size:
Quantity:
Add To Cart

You can buy my badger art print in my online store

You can see more of my nature and wildlife art in my themed wildlife gallery

New Nature and Wildlife Collection

announcements, artworks, nature, new collections, shopping, sneak peekCharlotte Brown

My new wildlife and nature art collection has now launched in the store... for all who love to connect with nature...

 Ferny Fox art print

Ferny Fox art print

I will be bringing you further detail and behind-the-scenes looks at all the artworks in this collection over the coming weeks - stay tuned... 

And do sign up to my email newsletter to keep updated and get your free printable art print, especially created for my subscribers to celebrate the launch of my new collection - all the details right below...

Free Printable Art Print

announcements, artworks, nature, new collectionsCharlotte Brown

To celebrate the upcoming launch of my new art collection later this week, I'm happy to bring you an arty gift to brighten up your life...

 Free 'Hare and Poppy' art print when you sign up for my email newsletter

Free 'Hare and Poppy' art print when you sign up for my email newsletter

You can get a free printable art print of my 'Hare and Poppy' artwork (A4 size, jpg format) when you sign up to my email newsletter for news, offers and updates.

You will receive the art print as a jpg download. It will print high quality (300dpi) at A4 size (approx 210 x 297mm). So you can print it out yourself on your printer at home. Or better still, get a print shop to do you a high-quality print that you can print up, frame, and enjoy on your wall at home.

 Detail from the artwork

Detail from the artwork

If you're already an email subscriber, don't worry. You don't need to sign up again. I will be sending the link to get the art print out to you later this week with the announcement for my new collection launch. Look out for my email in the next day or two!

Get your free art print (downloadable to print at home) by signing up for my email newsletter, below...

Arty Updates

announcements, new collections, sneak peek, artworksCharlotte Brown

I wanted to wish you a happy Easter...

 Easter primroses

Easter primroses

And to let you know that I'm planning to launch my new nature and wildlife art collection next week...

 Easter rabbit - sneak peek from my new collection

Easter rabbit - sneak peek from my new collection

Keep a look out for my new collection next week and sign up to my newsletter so that you don't miss the launch and an exciting gift I've prepared for you...

Custom Pet Portrait - Chow Chow - Yorkshire

artworks, behind the scenes, pet artCharlotte Brown

Chow Chow pet portrait

I really enjoyed doing a set of three custom pet portraits for Jo of her adult children's dogs, as surprise Christmas gifts - this is Shadow, a young Chow Chow.

 Chow Chow pet portrait 'Shadow'

Chow Chow pet portrait 'Shadow'

The trio of dogs were a Rottweiler, Daisy, and a Dogue de Bordeaux (cross), Pixie, that were to go on a double portrait. And then, a single portrait of the Chow Chow, Shadow, her son's dog, which I'll take a closer look at here.

You can read about Daisy and Pixie's double portrait, here...

Jo sent me a selection of photos to choose from of her son's very handsome Chow Chow. Here are just a few...

 Chow Chow photo shoot ready for his surprise pet portrait

Chow Chow photo shoot ready for his surprise pet portrait

All lovely photos, but there was one stand-out one (bottom right in the selection above) which I thought had such an open and trusting, charming expression and lovely clear detail in the face.

As we had already agreed the format, size and composition of the portrait when I worked on her daughter's dog portraits, there wasn't too much extra to discuss. Jo paid the 50% deposit through Paypal and I was quickly able to get to work.

I loved drawing the fluffy fur on the Chow Chow and I was really excited to draw the blue tongue - so unusual!

 The Chow Chow's tongue is distinctively blue! Shadow's drawing for his pet portrait.

The Chow Chow's tongue is distinctively blue! Shadow's drawing for his pet portrait.

This time, the text was slightly different, as the words had particular and personal meanings for each of her children, and as mum, Jo knew best which words were special for her children that make their pet portrait distinctly personal, so gave me a new list of words to include in the background of the portrait.

I added a little more fluff to Shadow's tail than we could see in this particular photo (this is one reason why it's so good to send me a selection of photos, so that I can add extra detail where appropriate) and actually drew some legs separately so that we could give Shadow a full body and legs in his pet portrait.

Here's how the art process went... Click on an image to see it larger and read the explanation...

Jo was happy with the digital image I showed her of Shadow, below, so I asked her to pay the remaining amount through Paypal so that I could order the giclee art print ready for her to give as a Christmas gift.

 Completed Chow Chow custom pet portrait

Completed Chow Chow custom pet portrait

 Artwork detail of Shadow

Artwork detail of Shadow

I was very excited to deliver both this and the custom pet portrait of Daisy and Pixie to her, and was worried about keeping the delivery secret from her two children who do visit her - I love being part of my customers' surprise gifts!

 Chow Chow Shadow's surprise custom pet portrait takes shape

Chow Chow Shadow's surprise custom pet portrait takes shape

I love my portraits. Charlotte has somehow managed to capture my pets individual characters!!!

If you want someone who is easy to talk to about specific requirements and you are happy to be consulted with to ensure you get the best possible result then look no further! Charlotte knows her stuff and you definitely won’t be disappointed with your finished portrait. Excellent service from start to finish.
— Jo C, East Riding of Yorkshire

Click the images above to see them full-size

Plan the perfect surprise present for a pet owner with a custom pet portrait - or just treat yourself! - click here to start...

Or browse through my pet art gallery for art prints and inspiration...

Custom Pet Portraits - Double Dog Portrait of Rottweiler & Dogue de Bordeaux - Yorkshire

artworks, behind the scenes, drawings, pet artCharlotte Brown

Custom pet portraits - double pet portrait - Rottweiler and Dogue de Bordeaux cross

I did a very enjoyable set of three custom pet portraits for Jo of her adult children's dogs, as surprise Christmas gifts.

The trio of dogs were a Rottweiler, Daisy, and a Dogue de Bordeaux (cross), Pixie, that were to go on a double portrait. And then, a single portrait of the Chow Chow, Shadow, her son's dog. I've shared that here...

This post concentrates on the double pet portrait I did of Jo's daughter's two dog's, the Rottweiler and Dogue de Bordeaux cross.

 Double pet portrait - Rottweiler and Dogue de Bordeaux cross

Double pet portrait - Rottweiler and Dogue de Bordeaux cross

As Jo regularly looks after both of these dogs, she was able to take her time and get some good photos outside in bright light, for me. Especially for dark coloured dogs, like these, it's important to take photos in good light so that I can see as much detail as possible in the face to draw.

Even for a double pet portrait, I will draw both dogs separately and work on each portrait individually, so it's best to take separate photos of the dogs so that we can capture as much detail as possible in their faces.

It can be helpful though, to try and make sure that the photos are taken from a similar angle and in similar lighting, as it does make it easier, then, to make the two portraits work well on the one single artwork.

 Garden photo shoot with the dogs

Garden photo shoot with the dogs

Jo had a great outdoor photo session with both dogs in the garden, as you can see above, and came up with a great, really clear, selection from which I thought these two would work really well together.

 The photos we chose of the dogs

The photos we chose of the dogs

She was also very enterprising at taking photos of the space where she thought the artworks might end up, so that we could discuss the correct size, proportions, and colour schemes to go with the rooms.

Once we'd discussed exactly what Jo wanted, and agreed on which photos I would use, I asked Jo for a 50% deposit, payable through Paypal, before I started work on her commissioned pet portraits.

The colour scheme was to be neutral with a grey background, and the colours of the dogs quite natural.

Jo had a great idea for the backgrounds - and I really loved doing this: making a background of hand-written text created out of words that were very meaningful to the recipients.

I thought this really made the portraits feel deeply personal and brought the dogs right into the heart of their families.

Here's how the art process went... Click on the images to see them larger with more explanation about the process...

I showed Jo the final digital version of the artwork, to make sure she was happy with everything. She gave me really useful feedback so that I was able to make sure that the colours of the fur on Daisy (which I had taken from the photo as being quite a light colour) were darker and more true to life as they are on the dog herself. As the artwork is created digitally, it's quite easy to change little things like this and make sure that the artwork is just right for the recipient.

We also played around a bit with layout of how the two dogs were positioned next to each other, and we tried a couple of different versions out (above) to get the one that Jo liked best (which did end up being the original version). Again, this was relatively easy to do with working digitally (although I do still have to go from the original drawing, so not everything can be changed at this stage).

You can see the final version below going from screen to artwork... Please click on the images to see them larger...

Once Jo was happy with the double portrait, I asked her for the remaining 50% of the commission fee before I ordered the giclee art print of the agreed version and start on the artwork of Shadow, which would be created to match the double portrait.

 The making of Daisy and Pixie's double dog portrait

The making of Daisy and Pixie's double dog portrait

I was really excited for her to have both of the commissioned pet portraits together - it's still a bit of a thrill to see the actual physical artwork 'in the flesh' rather than just the digital version.

I love my portraits. Charlotte has somehow managed to capture my pets individual characters!!!

If you want someone who is easy to talk to about specific requirements and you are happy to be consulted with to ensure you get the best possible result then look no further! Charlotte knows her stuff and you definitely won’t be disappointed with your finished portrait. Excellent service from start to finish.
— Jo C, East Yorkshire

Please click on the images above to see the full versions

I will be sharing about Chow-Chow portrait I also did for Jo, soon... EDIT: See it here!

A pet portrait makes a really thoughtful gift for someone you love (or to yourself!). Find out more about the process, here...

You can also browse through my pet art gallery to see some more of my pet artworks (some available as art prints, for sale in my online store).

Joyful Blooming for Spring

collecting colors, color, inspiration, natureCharlotte Brown

At the start of the year, I decided my theme for 2018 is going to be 'Joyful Blooming' - something I hope I will be able to bring to my personal life, mind, body and soul, into my home, and into my art.

So I've been so looking forward to the first colourful flowers of spring - and they're here at last...

So let the joyful blooming begin..!

I'm so looking forward to immersing myself in my Joyful Blooming theme through my art and experience the colours, joy, openness and confidence of floral spectaculars, which I want to share with you too... stay tuned for my efforts...

Rough Collie Art Print - Sun-Shimmer Collie with Geraniums

artworks, behind the scenes, pet artCharlotte Brown

Beautiful and colourful rough collie art print 'Sun-Shimmer Collie with Geraniums' - this fine art print would make an ideal rough collie lover gift. Perfect for birthdays, Christmas, and special anniversaries for family and friends who love this amazing dog breed.

Rough collie art print 'Sun-Shimmer Collie with Geraniums'

Buy 'Sun-Shimmer Collie with Geraniums' rough collie print in the store

Behind the Scenes of the Art

This is a pet portrait of my own gorgeous rough collie, Noah. He's just turned four years old, now, but this photo was taken a few months ago when we were having a lovely family holiday in sunny Scotland.

Rough collie - sunny day on the beach

It's a lovely photo for a pet portrait - well lit, detailed and clear - and our collie, Noah, has such a wonderful, happy expression because he's doing the thing he likes doing best in the whole world: exploring new places with his family.

It also conjures up really happy memories for me, of us all, on holiday, having an unexpected sunny day (after a few days of pouring rain) and enjoying it on one of our favourite beaches, all together. And that's precisely what I want to feel when I look at Noah's portrait...

Family beach day with the dog

I decided to make Noah's new pet portrait of this day - a day filled with happiness and sunshine, when Noah was my 'sun-shimmer collie' all pale gold and beautiful with sunshine shimmering off his fur (he already has a portrait here from when he was younger - my style was quite different then!).

I decided to make Noah's portrait with the flower that is the sunshine flower for me, that really evokes the hot sunshine and all the garden smells of summer - red geraniums! The flowers are beautiful, but it's the leaves that are really stunning with amazing patterns and that distinctive scent that brings back vivid images of childhood summers spent in greenhouse and garden.

I like the kind of nostalgic colour that I created in the artwork, too - with Noah's rough collie art print having a retro feel that reminds me of the colouring in childhood photos and really brings back to me those emotions of childhood summers and brings alive the sensation of family for me.

Detail from my rough collie art print

Here's how I created the rough collie art print...

Click on any of the images below to see them larger and view the full description...

My beautiful rough collie art print - Noah's fur is touched with sunlight and he is having the most amazing adventure in the summer geraniums!

Noah is my own dog so this artwork, of course, holds a very special place for me - he's my own family, so this artwork is completely filled with joy, sunshine and loving feelings of family for me...

Framed or mounted rough collie art prints are available in my online store

 Click image for details of print and frame options in my store

Click image for details of print and frame options in my store

Rough Collie with Geraniums Artwork - 'Sun-Shimmer Collie'
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My 'Sun-Shimmer Collie with Geraniums' rough collie art print is available in my online art store - you can get it framed in a choice of frames, mounted, or as a loose print.

If you would like your own custom pet portrait, find out more about commissioning a pet portrait here.

Browse more dog and pet art in my pet art gallery, here...

Tell Me Stories About Your Pet

behind the scenes, pet artCharlotte Brown

When you tell me stories about your pet, I get to know more about him or her. I get to know more about your pet’s personality. Through your stories, I get a visual picture of your pet that’s a lot more than the photos you send. The more stories you tell me, they clearer my picture of your pet is, and the more I am able to put that feeling of what your pet is like into your artwork.

It's so important to me that your artwork represents your pet in more than just a physical likeness. Our pets are complex individuals and a precious part of our families. I can’t see all that in just a photo – which is why I love you to tell me your stories too. If I feel like I know your pet, I can really do justice to his or her portrait.

 Handsome husky pet portrair

Handsome husky pet portrair

That’s why art is different than just a photo – it’s more than a photo. Art encompasses emotions and feelings that a photo rarely can. Art makes more of your pet. I feel like I want to portray a little of the spirit or soul of your pet in my art so that it’s about the connection you feel with your pet, and not just a visual representation.

Start telling me your story about your pet for your custom pet portrait, here...

Snow Day Shenanigans (Beast from the East)

behind the scenes, nature, personal musingsCharlotte Brown

Living in Yorkshire, I'm quite used to snow, although it has been rather quiet on that front for the last few years...

It was still quite terrifying to hear talk of the 'Beast from the East' though - a polar vortex sweeping the UK and bringing bone-chilling temperatures from Siberia. Especially so since we had a four-hour planned power-cut schedule just as the worst of the weather was forecast to hit.

 The first lying snows of 2018

The first lying snows of 2018

With supplies of logs, flask, and camping stove all ready to hand, the power cut was cancelled - to huge sighs of relief all round... and we could turn our attention to enjoying the snow...

 Is this the 'Beast from the East'? No!! My rough collie, Noah, enjoying some exploring in the first fall of snow

Is this the 'Beast from the East'? No!! My rough collie, Noah, enjoying some exploring in the first fall of snow

My mum always says that it snows on her birthday, which is at this time of year - and it's true. It nearly always does snow, even if just at little, around this time.

This year the snow is from Sibera. It's light and powdery - fluffy, not wet - and it lifts in the wind and swirls around. The weather feels chill when you venture outside, so we make sure to keep our adventures short and sweet... (even for collies with thick fluffy coats!).

 Snow laying thick across the fields around our village

Snow laying thick across the fields around our village

We have a little more snow on the second day of snowfall. It takes my husband two hours to drive to work (a usual commute of 45 minutes to an hour).

As the snow becomes deeper, it starts to stick to Noah's fluffy feet in big ice-bobbles and he doesn't like it... we have to stop and pick the ice-bobbles out.

 It's quite hard going in the wind and the snow!

It's quite hard going in the wind and the snow!

There are snowdrifts in places and the snow is so deep there that we just can't make progress forwards.

We have to stand Noah in a bowl of warm water when we get home to make sure he thaws out nicely and to wash any road grit from his paws where it might irritate. 

 Noah in the snow

Noah in the snow

As more snow falls and the wind picks up more, it's really arctic-feeling out there. The snow drifts and it's really tough to walk - a real battle against the elements that we're not quite used to here...

I hope you stay safe and warm in the snow. It's pretty and fun, but it has its serious side too. Go careful out there!

Beauty and the Bleak - Connecting with Nature in Winter

behind the scenes, inspiration, nature, personal musingsCharlotte Brown

Living in the countryside in the north of Britain, it's easy to feel glum and uninspired in the dark winter months. Compared to the colours, light, and warmth of summer, the bleakness of winter can feel downright uninspiring for creative endeavours or even just attempting to capture a sense of cheer...

A walk in winter can be cold, muddy, wet and uncomfortable...

I'm on a dog walk in February, with eyes stinging from the wind, cheeks bitter and raw with the icy rain, nose running, fingers numb, and both feet sliding away from each other in thick gloopy mud.... 

It's pretty easy to find beauty and connect with nature in summer and in the beautiful places. Tougher in a muddy, Yorkshire landscape!

But it's so much more meaningful to lean into the bleakness, not try to shut it out.

 Bleakness can be beautiful too

Bleakness can be beautiful too

There is a certain, special beauty in this type of bleakness, too. I notice the energy of the wind and the rain, the vastness of the skies and the everchanging nature of the world around us.

 The vast emptiness of the fields and the skies gives us a sense of space - time and room to breathe 

The vast emptiness of the fields and the skies gives us a sense of space - time and room to breathe 

Looking at the detail of nature helps us connect with the world around us more deeply. This is one of the reasons I love to put so much detail into my artworks, as it helps us to connect right back with nature again when we look at them.

The details we connect with in winter are the subtle ones - a pattern made by grasses or leaves, the light of the sky, the detail of a trunk, or the unity of a wood of trees, the veins on a leaf - but they are the strong, persistent, solid, permanent ones that survive the storm of the season.

In the bleakness, you can take time out, a time for your thoughts and ideas to breathe, to percolate, to come alive.

Making an effort to connect with nature in winter, we can feel the grounding and same solid permanence in our own heart. We can discover solidity within ourselves and love the beauty and necessity of the bleakness that lives in our own souls sometimes, as well as the joy and gratitude we live.

 And fluffy coated dogs always enjoy their winter walkies!

And fluffy coated dogs always enjoy their winter walkies!

If you'd like to enjoy my art as a way of connecting with nature, take a look at some of my nature-inspired pieces below...

Custom Pet Portrait - Little Lidio Dog, Yorkshire - Case Study

artworks, behind the scenes, drawings, pet artCharlotte Brown

Custom pet portrait case study - Spanish rescue dog in Yorkshire

I loved doing this custom pet portrait of sparky little dog, Lidio...

 Custom pet portrait of rescue dog Lidio

Custom pet portrait of rescue dog Lidio

I was asked to create a special portrait of Lidio as a surprise gift for the client's friend, of her dog, Lidio, who was adopted through a rescue organization, from Spain.

Lidio is such a confident little character for his small size, with a big swagger and a real glint in his eye so I really wanted to capture that in the portrait.

It took a little while to get the right photo that was clear, in good light and showed enough detail in his face, as well as really letting his personality shine through. We kept persevering, and all of a sudden hit gold with the perfect shot - lots of clear detail for drawing and a great expression that really reflected his personality (the top right image in the below picture)...

 Choosing the perfect photo - the picture top right was a clear winner for me!

Choosing the perfect photo - the picture top right was a clear winner for me!

The client asked specifically for a circular artwork with the feel of an old-fashioned miniature, whilst still keeping to my signature style.

I was able to create a six-inch circular artwork for her, on an eight-inch square art print, which also allowed the pet's name to appear below.

I discussed background colours with the client, and we chose a general colour palette that her friend might like.

I wanted to include the Spanish carnations at the neck as a nod to Lidio's Spanish heritage - and I also think they kind of have the look of a cravat, making him look a very smart and proud little dog indeed.

Take a look, below, at how the art was created. Click on any image to see it larger, with further description...

 The completed pet portrait surprise gift.

The completed pet portrait surprise gift.

The client was able to keep the custom pet portrait a secret from her friend until the perfect moment came to present her with it...

I was really thrilled when Lidio's owner let me know that she'd been given the portrait of Lidio, and told me how much she loved her pet portrait - and how very surprised she was to receive it! I think it made my day, as well as hers!

 Custom pet portrait of Lidio in Yorkshire

Custom pet portrait of Lidio in Yorkshire

You can get your own custom pet portrait for someone special, and make their birthday or special day, one that they'll remember... Start here...

Or browse through my pet art gallery to see some more of my pet art, here...