All posts by larrygekiereartist

 
Pet Portrait Gift
Looking for the perfect gift for a pet lover in your life? A hand-painted oil portrait of their pet would make a thoughtful and unique present for someone on your list.

Imagine the look on your friend or loved one’s face when you present them with such a thoughtful gift. It shows that you really understand how much they love their fur family member and it can be especially thoughtful for the parent of an older pet.

Gift Options

Just click here to order a painting. If you are doing last minute shopping, I also offer gift certificates. Once you submit your order, I will let you know the possible timeframes for completing your gift.

Heartfelt Gifts

Pet portraits are heartfelt gifts that will keep right on giving. When your friend or loved one hangs that portrait on their wall, they will constantly be reminded of their beloved pet and your thoughtfulness.

How It Works

For a great perspective on the steps involved in creating a gift portrait (and in this case, presenting a gift certificate for an original Larry Gekiere Pet Portrait), take a look at my post about creating a painting of PJ, beloved sidekick.

To Order

To order a painting, just complete this form. If you have further questions, just contact me via email or call me at (214) 405-1834.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and yours!


special offer
HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 27: Naomi Coto carries Simba on her shoulders as they evacuate their home after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

I was glued to the news, just like you, watching the heartbreaking story of Hurricane Harvey unfold. And like you, I really wanted to do something to help. So I came up with a special offer to assist the SPCA in Houston through the medium of my painting of pet portraits.

Heartbreaking Separations

It struck me that there were so many stories about people who have lost all their possessions. When it came time to evacuate, the one thing that they were most concerned about saving was their pet. People lost their lives going back into harm’s way to save their dog or cat.

I am always truly honored when a pet owner is willing to have me make an original oil painting of their pet. I love pets and always love the reaction I get upon delivering one of my custom oil paintings. It is exciting to have people who cherish their beloved friend tell me I have captured their pet perfectly.

Our pets are not possessions. Yes, legally we are their owner, but in reality they are beloved members of our family. The bond between us and our pet is unbreakable. During Harvey, many people would not evacuate until they were sure that the family pet was safe.

Hoped-for Reunions

But, in spite of all their efforts, there were hundreds of pets separated from their owners. Both owners with missing pets and pets separated from their owners have such a look of anguish on their faces. But those hoped-for reunions, when they happen, are joyous beyond measure. Our pets love us unconditionally, and we return that love.

I wasn’t in Texas during the storm. On the road back home, I saw mobile animal rescue trucks on their way to Houston to help with the difficult task of uniting families – locating lost pets or finding their owners. These no-kill shelter trucks and their crews would soon be there to help.

Special Offer

After some thought about what I could do in addition to giving money to the relief for the disaster, I came up with this special offer. For the next 60 days if you decide to have an oil painting of your pet and place an order, I will give half of the proceeds of my work to the SPCA in the Houston area to help with uniting families. This is a win/win. You will have a great original oil painting of your pet and will help someone get reunited with their loved one.

Just place an order here – Order a Painting, or call me personally at 214-405-1834.


Pet Portraits

Best Friends

Have you heard of the phrase “man’s best friend?” It’s a common phrase referring to domestic dogs as pets who are close to their owners. The phrase dates back to the 1700s when Frederick the Great of Prussia first introduced the idea in reference to one of his Italian Greyhounds.

Dogs, for many people, truly are best friends, as are cats and other pets. They are to be celebrated in many ways, and, as you know, it’s especially hard on a person when they lose their beloved pet.

If you have a pet whom you consider to be “like one of the family,” then you should consider allowing me to paint a portrait of your pet.

Why a Formal Portrait?

Why have a formal portrait done? This piece of art helps capture the spirit of your friend in a way that’s unique and long-lasting. Even when your dog is not around, you can look at the portrait and smile, thinking of fond and happy memories with your faithful companion.

We tend to show off those whom we love to other people, letting them know who or what’s important to us, right? Just like you’d want a family portrait of humans hanging on the wall in your living room for visitors to see, it makes sense to have a pet portrait there, too. Jokingly, some people say they love their pet more than their (human) family!

Why a Painting?

While photographs are nice, they can fade over time or even disintegrate. An oil painting, though, has a more permanent feel — it can last generations. There’s something timeless and exquisite about an oil painting hanging in a room.

As an artist, I take my time using oil paints on canvas, using my hand and a brush rather than a computer. I want to capture the essence of your pet. Previous clients have remarked about the artistic beauty of my renderings of their fur family members.

Our pets are such wonderful and unique creatures. They all have their own individual personalities. Some are shy and quiet, while others are outgoing and energetic. No matter what their temperament, when they bond with their owners, it’s almost magical. Indeed, there seems to be a spiritual, supernatural connection between pets and their owners.

Celebrate YOUR Relationship with YOUR pet

To celebrate this important and worthy connection, let me paint the perfect portrait of your pet. Call 214-405-1834 for more information.


Awe

Those of us who paint are always in awe of painters in the past century. They had to work under much tougher conditions. They could not go down to the local art store and buy a canvas pre-stretched. When I decide what size canvas I need, it is a simple trip to the art supply store and I can purchase canvas of any size or type. On the other hand, many of the old masters’ paintings were painted on wooden boards. In addition, frequently the canvases were of varied sizes due to the non-standard hand work of making and stretching canvas.

Degas

Recently I visited the Houston Museum of Art where they had a Edgar Degas exhibit. The museum had a large showing of many of his early works. He is well known for painting groups, mostly famously dancers. One of his frequent group subjects was also race horses. degas

While at the exhibit, I learned one of the techniques that he used to save time and add variety. I always thought of these artist as purists. I did not realize that they were always thinking of ways to make a painting better without adding a large amount of time to the process.

Tracing Technique

What Degas did was so simple that I wonder why I did not think of it before. He would use tracing paper and draw a dancer on it and then reverse the paper and trace it. What he would have then is two dancers that did not look alike but were in effect the same. They were being viewed from a different angle. Of course, I cannot do this, as I am never painting duplicates. Each animal I paint has a distinct look and personality that I need to capture. But it is interesting nonetheless!

Now have discovered this, I wonder what other labor-saving techniques were used by the great masters. I feel fairly certain that other painters have used tracing paper to reverse an image for repetition. It will be interesting for me and maybe you to try to look at paintings with repetition of images and see if it is an example of the techniques of using tracing paper.


Kodos Progress

Drama on Canvas

In this blog post, I am sharing with you the step-by-step process as I painted a portrait of Kodos the cat, capturing drama on canvas. The owner and I selected a photograph (on the left above) with a unique pose full of drama that would translate well to canvas. In the middle above is the sketch I made to begin the process. On the right is the wash which defines the areas of dark and light for the final painting.

Foreshortening

This photograph and the resulting painting is a perfect example of the artistic device called foreshortening. During the Renaissance in Florence in the 1400’s a new technique of painting called foreshortening was first used to present dramatic perspective. Up to this time painters were not concerned with realism in art. Painting did not have the depth that we have now grown accustomed to.

As a pet portrait painter I am constantly using techniques to represent three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface in a way that looks natural and realistic. Foreshortening occurs when an object appears compressed when seen from a particular viewpoint. The effect of this perspective causes distortion. Foreshortening is a particularly effective artistic device used to give the impression of three-dimensional volume and create drama in a painting.

Final Portrait

What do you think of the final portrait of Kodos?

Kodos Final


Doing a pet portrait is more than a creative outlet for me. I would like to tell you three recent stories that touched my heart.

 
love oil portraits

First Story: A Beautiful Memory

A lady called and told me that she had a wonderful pet that was sick with cancer. Her beloved pet’s face had a big tumor. She wondered if I could paint a portrait that would show her dog the way she was before she fell ill. She wanted a beautiful memory.

We met in a park and I took many pictures of her dog in this natural setting to capture her spirit. When I delivered the painting, she was very pleased and said it looked just like her pet at her best. She sent me a picture of the painting on her wall with the dog lying below the painting. She and I were so pleased that we had created a lasting memory.

 
 

Second Story: The Best Picture

The second story is about a daughter who wanted to give her dad an oil painting of his best buddy for his birthday. I gave her a gift certificate to present to her dad. Shortly after that, I spoke to her father and he sent me four photos of his buddy. I emailed him that I thought the one on the couch was best. I thought the one of the dog in his car was not the one to use. He responded that he liked the one in the car best, but he would agree with my judgment. I decided we should talk on the phone about the painting. During the discussion, I discovered the dog went everywhere with him. He always rode shotgun in the truck. After the discussion, I agreed that we should paint the dog in the car setting because the two buddies went everywhere together.

I delivered the painting and the owner was pleased. We have discussed other dogs that he might want me to paint. I hope someday I’ll have the opportunity since I have learned a lot. The best picture to paint is not always the one that is potentially the most artistic. Portraits of dogs and cats are memory makers.

 
 
 
 
 
love oil portraits
 
 
 
love oil portraits

 

Third Story: The Rest of the Story

A client asked me to paint a pet portrait of a pet that was getting up in age. The man knew his wife would love to have a portrait. I asked him to take several pictures in secret because he wanted to surprise his wife.

The next week he said that he was not going to have the painting done as his wife had seen him taking the pictures and he had to confess why. She said that it would cost too much and not to do it. I said fine, but if you think it is something that she would like why not surprise her. I offered him his money back if by chance she really didn’t want it. The long and the short of it – she loved it and called me to help place it in the best place in her home.

As Paul Harvey would say –  “here’s the rest of the story”. I got a call at home one Saturday night, months later, telling me that they were sitting with a glass of wine looking at the picture. They had wanted to call to tell me how happy they were to have this oil painting in their home. Their loyal friend had died that day.

 

The Reward

What I hope you get from these three stories is that for me the reward of the painting is the knowledge that I have helped to create a lasting memory.
 
Do YOU have a memory in the making?


Not this kind of oil and water!

oil and water

Painting with acrylics requires water. Painting with oil does not. Now, mixed media is a whole other story!

Acrylics

As a professional painter, I have been asked several times why I use oil and not acrylic paint. Acrylics, created in the 1940’s, are faster to paint with since they dry very quickly. In fact, a spray bottle of water is a must if you are painting with acrylics. Depending on the environment, you spray water on the painting and the palette to keep the paint from drying while you are in the process of painting. Acrylics are less expensive to buy and easy to clean up – no ruined clothes!

Oil

On the other hand, oil paint used for centuries, has its own advantages and disadvantages. The famous masters of painting had to create their own colors from ground-up stone such as lapis mottled with white calcite and brassy pyrite  to create blue. Their palette was dictated by availability. As a modern painter I am fortunate that I am able to buy pre-made colors in many shades and blend oils on the palette in such a way that I can create the exact shade of color that I want. This gives me much more flexibility and the expanded palette that I desire. Oil takes longer  to dry than acrylic paint, but it gives me the chance to continually “edit” my painting because it takes so much longer to completely dry, and i can touch it up for a long time.

Mixed Media

When i first started painting, I used  acrylics for  the obvious reasons listed above. With acrylics I could produce a painting quickly. Next, I branched out into combining acrylic and oil. This is called mixed media. With mixed media, I would use acrylics for the base and wait a few hours for it to dry. After the painting dried, I would apply oil paint over the acrylic. It is not possible to paint acrylics over oil. After experimenting with the three processes, I settled on oil painting which gives me the opportunity to create the best possible product.

What Other Painters Use

The next time you are in a gallery, take note of what medium is used in the painting. All three are popular. I venture to say that paintings which are very thick are generally mixed media or acrylic. I find it interested to try to figure out what medium the artist used and then guess why they used it.

 


dog-looking-up

I wanted to paint a picture that was out of the ordinary. I really like this look. The lighting and the perspective are unique.

What do you think?


Over the holidays one year I was given a rush project. The two dogs involved were captured in a terrific photo. I was really excited by the subject so I pushed the envelope and delivered it on Christmas eve…

BROTHERLY LOVE
Brotherly Love

moses

My Bible study class asked me to create a painting of Moses for display in our classroom as a special project. I agreed, but quickly realized that the biggest challenge was to decide what expression and perspective to portray in the painting.

I decided that Moses would have a wild look coming down off the mountain with the tablets, so that is what I tried to capture here. What do you think?