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My Story

Discovering a Passion

The Pampered Canvas Artist
Yorkie portrait
The Pampered Canvas Artist Signature

Hello, and welcome. My name is Brad, and I'm an artist specializing in pet portraits. I've enjoyed being creative for as long as I can remember. Creativity pulsed in my veins as a child, but the process of maturing and choosing the paths I'd take through life led me to focus more on details such as numbers, business processes, spreadsheets, and checklists. And so, that overriding passion for detail became mainly aimed at my career-oriented activities - but my creative side refused to be swept aside completely. Artistic hunger pulled me toward activities such as decorating, taking pictures of my two little furry kids (above), cooking, and writing. I began to notice a burst of bliss when I'd work on those kinds of hobbies that felt far more intense than any satisfaction from a successful day at work.

About 8 years ago, the opportunity to take a drawing class presented itself. At the time, drawing was just a long-forgotten pastime that had died off after doodling in school. My friend, and the instructor of the class, convinced me that it was something that could be taught and that I might surprise myself. I signed up with the promise of an open mind - and absolutely no clue that it would turn out to be one of the most rewarding decisions of my life.

One of the first lessons in the beginners class was to reproduce a high-art drawing - with only one strange rule. The original subject piece, as well as our reproduction, had to be kept upside-down the entire time, only turning it over when we were finished. I wasn't sure of the point of this seeming obstacle, but I'd promised an open mind, so gave it my best shot. When I felt like I had done all I could, I closed my eyes and rotated the paper 180 degrees. One very deep breath later, I cracked one eye to squint apprehensively at what I had done. The other one popped open and they both widened in disbelief. I'm convinced there was an audible "click" in my brain as the result of drawing what I actually saw, versus what I thought I was looking at, stared back at me. It felt like someone else had done this, but I knew the work was mine, and the shift in perspective was undeniable. From that moment on, I began to look at everything in terms of shapes and shades. After going on to complete the intermediate and advanced drawing classes, I was thrilled with the joy I got out of my new talent. With no more drawing classes to take, my friend and teacher encouraged me to try painting next. This time, there was no convincing necessary.

The moment color came into my new world of shapes and shading, I fell completely in love. It unleashed a passion I hadn't realized had been brewing my entire life. Looking back, I began to see how I had dipped a toe into the pool of artistic interpretation here and there, but never quite let myself dive in. For instance, I did my own Halloween makeup for years, and also for many family members, and never realized that was all about shading. As my painting skills progressed through each class, I began to experience joy on a whole new level each and every time I put brush to canvas. I got completely lost in it, everything else dissolved around me, and I felt nothing but intense joy. I was in the zone. I would later find that there is a name for this euphoric buzz ... the positive mental state of "flow".

Flow is achieved when a person is engaged in an activity, completely immersed in energized focus, and feels fully equipped with the skills and ability to achieve success. I had never felt anything so intense in my life. It was a perfect mix of peace, exhilaration, and gratification all at once. I couldn't imagine a better feeling - but my quest for practice subject material was about to take it even higher.

I have always loved animals and had many different kinds of pets growing up, my closest bond being with my dogs. I took millions of pictures of them - and nauseated my facebook friends with every single one. As I practiced painting different subjects, I found myself organically gravitating toward that love of animals. Before long, I put out requests to friends and family for favorite pictures of their pets. This allowed me to simultaneously cultivate my budding painting skills and create a special gift for my loved ones. The results were better than I could have imagined.

Each pet is in our lives for such a relatively short time. Through my artistic journey, I have found a creative outlet that gives me that euphoric state of flow, while also allowing me to immortalize pet family members in works of art for people who deeply love them. I consider it an honor, and take my commitment very seriously every single time. That's why I spend so many hours on each piece. I cannot feel fulfilled unless I see the personality of that special pet shining through the result of my labor of love.

One of the earliest comments I got from a proud pet parent was that I had "completely captured her spirit" and felt as though her sparkling eyes were looking out at them from the canvas. They had no way of knowing, but that was the highest praise I could have received. That is my goal on every portrait - to capture the things that make each pet unique, those memorable qualities that remind us who only they are. This is my passion and my purpose, and I truly appreciate the opportunity to share it with you.

Thank you for taking the time to get to know a little bit about me and how I got here. If one of my heartfelt pet portraits sounds like something you'd cherish, I'd be honored to start the process! I look forward to meeting you, and your pet, as we craft a one-of-a-kind keepsake together.

And now ... I've got some canvas to pamper! Hope to talk with you soon!



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