Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions about ordering prints and décor items and about commissioning artwork. If you don't see the answer to your question here, contact me and I will be happy to help.
Where do you ship from? And do you ship to my location?
Prints: The reproductions that are printed on canvas, or on art paper, are produced by a professional printing company. They have printing operations in several countries, so they will produce the print in the location that is closest to you. They ship your print straight from their factory, usually within 2-3 business days after you place your order. Prints on canvas, and prints on art paper, are shipped from the following locations:
- Canada: Toronto, Ontario
- United States: Charlotte, NC, Austin, TX, Atlanta, GA
- Europe: Boxtel, Netherlands
- United Kingdom: Glasgow, Scotland
- Australia: Brisbane, QLD
Throws, pillows, and notebooks: These items are also printed by a professional printing company, which is located in the United States. Items ship from the United States, so duties may be applied in other countries.
I'm nervous about buying art online. How will I know that I will be satisfied with my purchase?
I want you to love your commissioned drawing or painting. I'll keep in touch with you as I work on the portrait. You'll see your portrait develop from start to finish, and will have a chance to review a photo of it before I ship the finished work to you. I never consider a work to be finished until you are satisfied with it.
A custom portrait costs more than I was expecting. How do you price your portraits?
My work is priced according to size and is based on the materials used and the time required to create the piece. To understand what you are buying, it is helpful to understand a few things about the materials and workmanship that goes into a piece of fine art.
I use only artist-quality, archival materials. In the case of a painting, the pigments that I use are mainly natural earth colours or natural minerals, and these are ground up and then bound in either linseed oil or walnut oil. There are no additives---just pure pigment and a natural oil that is highly refined. Both linseed and walnut oil dry to create a hard film that is very durable. There’s a reason why museums have oil paintings that are hundreds of years old! For drawings, I use artist-quality paper that is acid-free, so that it won't discolour over time.
I put a lot of time into my work. For a painting, I begin by preparing the surface, priming it so that it is not too absorbent and the oil paint will sit on top and look fresh instead of soaking in. I make preliminary sketches and spend time mixing colours so that I get them just right. Once I have done that preparatory work, I start by doing a freehand drawing and then, when I know that the drawing is accurate, I start to paint. I give as much time and attention to painting an animal as I would if I were painting a person—after all, animals are companions and family members and they have their own personalities, just like people.
My prices are based on the cost of my materials and the number of hours that it takes to create a drawing or painting. If you have ever taken your car to the garage for service, I can assure you that you are paying your mechanic more per hour than you are paying an artist to create a handmade item for you. And the painting is going to last a lot longer than your car!
Do you work from a photo of my pet?
I create custom animal portraits using photographs as reference material. Unless circumstances allow me to meet your pet and take my own photos (which I can only do if you happen to live in my area), then I will need to work from your photos. The quality of the portrait will depend very much on the quality of the photo that you provide. If I don't think that I can create a high-quality portrait from the photo that you provide, I will tell you so. I want you to love your portrait and I would rather lose a commission than create something that neither of us can feel great about.
You can send me photo to review---no obligation to buy--and I will tell you whether I can work from it.
What if I am not a good photographer? How can I get a good photo of my pet?
While I prefer to work from my own photos of your pet, sometimes that is not possible. It is always preferable that I meet your pet, but if you need to supply the photo to me, here are some tips:
- Take the photo under natural light.
- Be at eye-level with your animal, rather than looking down from above.
- Do not crop body parts. Make sure that your photo includes everything that you want in the portrait—no cut-off ears or tails!
- Unless the animal is in profile, make sure that you can see both of the animal’s eyes.
- Make sure the photo is clear and in focus. One thing that helps achieve a clear photo is making sure that your animal is the main subject: your pet should fill the picture frame. In other words, you photo shouldn’t be mostly background with a dog standing in front of it.
- Photos taken with your phone are not likely to be good enough quality. If possible, take your photos with a digital camera and send them to me without resizing or altering them.
If you’re not sure whether your photo is the quality needed for a portrait, send it to me for review. If I don’t think that I can create a great portrait from your photo, I will tell you that honestly. I want to create a portrait for you that you will cherish for years to come and if I don’t think I can do that, then I won’t!
How do I know that my payment information is secure?
This website is powered by Shopify. Every day, Shopify provides the payment processing for thousands of business of every size—from little ma-and-pa businesses to major corporations. It is a proven system that is encrypted and secure. Shopify processes your payment and then forwards the payment to me, so I do not see your credit card information when you purchase online. It works much the way that PayPal does, and in fact you can use PayPal on this site.