Frame your Heartbeat!

What better way to show your love for your pet than to have him painted on a canvas? Here, we bring two artists – Gita Bhattacharjee from India and Lisa Graziotto from Canada who create canine portraits – helping people make their pets immortal.

The beginning…

Lisa Graziotto is an artist in Toronto, Canada who paints canine portraits with a difference! “My first artistic attempt was a drawing of a dog I did at the age of 14 months…my destiny to become an artist was sealed for me with that drawing. Several years ago, my dog Dylan passed away… one day while sitting alone in the studio missing him, I painted his portrait…I moved on to another dog portrait, then another…this continued until I had both a portfolio and the confidence to show the work in public…I started off with dogs shows before a few American galleries pursued my work to be hung in their space…since then, I have been painting for my clients around the world who have seen my work either online, at a gallery, in a show or on television,” told Lisa.

While, for Gita Bhattacharjee, painting is her passion since childhood. “It’s my first love. My husband Nikhil encouraged and supported me to pursue art as a career. Since last nine years, I have been pursuing art as a profession. As an artist, I am improving and becoming better, each moment I spend with my paintings. Art is about expressing one’s inner feeling towards something i.e. an idea, or thoughts or beliefs. The beauty of nature and love for animals inspires me, so I have chosen nature and wildlife as my favorite subjects for painting. I am a realistic artist and my works involve paintings of landscape, wildlife, tiger, still life, flower, fruit, instrumental, pet animals (dog, cat, etc), animal portraits etc,” shared Gita.

Paintings that talk…

“I like to refer my work as, ‘a painting that tells a story about the subject’…often I will include something in the portrait that appertains to the life of the dog/cat… a toy, a certain collar, a specific background such as a lake, cottage, park or couch…by incorporating some of these details in the composition, I create a narrative about the subject… it is this narrative that gives viewers of the painting an idea of the nature of the dog/cat. My goal is to produce a piece of art that will reflect the nature of their dog/cat so that when they look upon the painting, they feel the presence of their beloved friend,” added Lisa.

“In the process of creation of any painting the most challenging work is fusion of composition and emotion/feelings. Composition is principle of all art, it is an arrangement of different elements, colour balances that contribute to the overall effect of paintings composition and emotion is the major part of what catches the eyes and stirs the soul. To make pet or animal portrait, the most striking feature is to bring life to the eyes: eyes speaks with you, connect with you, it can create an emotional bond with the viewer.

Besides, balance of nose, ears, mouth etc is equally important in creating a pet portrait. Each and every moment of creativity is a challenge till you reach up to the level when you find you have done justice to your work. Once I start my work, the painting gets finished only ‘till life on canvas” can be felt,’ told Gita.

The soothing effect…

“A couple of years ago, a client emailed me asking to paint a portrait of her dog Zack. Her husband died suddenly a few weeks after they discussed the idea to contact me. He died of heart attack one day in December while walking with Zack in the park…he was 36 and a new dad to a baby of just a few months old! While we talked, a very clear vision of what the painting should look like entered in my mind…I told her about it…Zack would be in a park setting with snow all around, the time of day would be just before dusk…Zack would be sitting, looking directly at the viewer…under his paw, I would paint a black and white photo of her husband…the photo would look like it is about to blow away if Zack were to lift his paw up.

The client cried after I explained my idea for the composition. She said that this was the first time she had cried since her husband died. She thanked me and hung up. I spent the next few weeks alone in the studio working on this portrait…at one point, I ‘felt’ her husband standing next to me while I was putting the finishing touches on the painting…the painting was a huge part of my clients’ healing process…,” narrated Lisa.

“I have got lot of appreciation from dog lovers/art lovers for the innovative idea of introducing pet paintings and pet portraits,” told Gita.

The undying inspiration…

“Dylan was always by my side and loved being in the studio with me….he would sometimes walk around with a paint brush in his mouth! I used to wonder what he would create if he had the thumbs to really work the brush? I joke now by saying that Dylan is now able to work ‘through’ me painting a subject matter which he can totally relate to! I miss that boy…,” told Lisa. It is said that dogs target rabbit as prey but Ginny (German Spitz) & Tap (rabbit) together have proved this wrong.

One day, after giving Tap his meal I went to the other room for some work. When I came out, I witnessed a roller coaster site wherein Tap, my rabbit was running after Ginny coz Ginny had stolen Tap’s food. Tap was running like Tom and Ginny was trying to escape like Jerry. It took me few minutes to calm both of them.

“The beautiful relationship which I share with my pet babies motivates me to create pet paintings. Whenever I start my work, Ginny always wants to sit next to me, she even sometimes plays with colours to get attention.

In all my pet paintings, you will find little bit of my pet babies Ginny & Tap,” concluded Gita enthusiastically.

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