Well that’s it Christmas is almost done. I bet you are all still eating your turkeys while I am typing this, or even better having a big afternoon snooze. I guess us self employed never stop working, or is it we never know when to stop!

I thought it would be lovely to do a round up of the Sarah’s Pet Portraits Year. It’s been a funny mix really. Some big highs and some big lows and ending up perhaps the happiest I have been in a long time. I guess you have to have these highs and lows to get where you want to be. Needless to say I am looking forward to the challenges and excitement 2019 will bring both my work and personal life.

2018 started off with one of my biggest achievements to date. Being asked to paint a portrait of the winner of the Most Handsomest Mix Breed in Scrufts for a documentary on Channel 4. A gorgeous dog called Milo, and he is an Anatolian Shephard mix. His owner rescued him and he is now three and winning classes in Scrufts. What an achievement for both Milo and his owner Charley.

I was approached at the end of 2017 to do this and I very nearly backed out, first of all thinking it was a scam and then not thinking I would have the courage to be filmed for Channel 4. However with encouragement from my family and my best friend I plucked up the courage to reply to the enquiry and got the ball rolling.

At first the plan was unclear when speaking to the producer, even if it would go ahead. But in time a plan came together. The idea was for them to visit my studio and do part of the filming there. Charley and Milo were to visit and they wanted to film me sketching him and talking to Charley and getting to know Milo. This lead to mission clear up studio and back yard. A mission in itself as I am not the worlds tidiest person. I always have better things to be doing, like pet portraits.

In typical television style I wasn’t given much notice about the timings and final plans and it was all very much last minute, and then they were a few hours late, which meant the initial idea for filming had to be changed as it was dark! Despite all this and my horrendous nerves, filming went well and they were very pleased.

The next step remained unclear, but eventually it was decided that we would film in a location in Sussex where Alan Carr would be handing over Milo’s portrait to Charley. All the other contestants would be there too and filming, but at various times during the day.

I am not going to lie, I was a bag of nerves, but Alan Carr was lovely. He had his red setters there and his neighbours who he was dog sitting for. They wondered around onset during filming too. We were all made to feel really comfortable and soon my nerves went.

I got some good local media coverage of the whole event which was lovely. I was featured in the local paper and the whole program led to some lovely commissions.

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Front cover of the Sevenoaks Chronicle
Scruffts,scruffts finalists, scruffts 2018, Milo, portrait, pet portraits, pet portrait, dog portrait
Article in the Sevenoaks Chronicle
Milo’s finished Portrait

I am going to try and find some photos of Alan Carr handing over Milo’s pet portrait. I know I have some somewhere. Below you can watch the clip shown on channel 4 of Charley and Milo coming to my studio. I don’t really like to watch it much. But does anyone ever like watching themselves on TV! I think listening to your own voice is horrid. It never sounds the same as you hear it, does it!

After the excitement of all this it went pretty average. Not that I minded it was quite nice to get back to painting all the gorgeous pet portraits I had to do. Funnily enough it was all about the cat portraits in the early part of the year.

I did a few gorgeous feline friends.

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From there it leant back towards our canine companions for a while.. Unfortunately pet portraits had to take a bit of a back seat for a month as my anxiety reared its ugly head with vengeance again. It really is a struggle when it is bad and this year it was particularly bad for a good while. My client s were very patient and luckily I managed to get all the pet portraits done in time. Albeit by the skin of my teeth.