Pet Portraits Are Back


It has been a crazy long time since I did a blog post. I have thought long and hard about what to write and whether I should disclose why I have been so quiet. After some thought, and if you follow my facebook page, you may already know why. So I think it would do no harm to mention it here as well. In 2021 I had a nervous breakdown. It rocked me to my core and not only did I lose my ability to do my pet portraits, I could paint full stop. It felt like had lost myself. It has been the toughest 18 – 20 months of my life, but gradually I am finding my feet again. Including returning to creating my beloved pet portraits!

A pet portrait of a springer spanile in pastels. Sitting n the bluebells
Majestic Stag Portrait
An acrlic painting of a stag with a blue background. Impressionistic style

It was a long journey back and a real struggle to learn fall in love with my art again. It started to fall into place after I discovered an online semi abstract art course by Sarah Watson. I signed up and started to learn a different way to paint. That was quickly followed with a course in lino printing – you all remember doing that at school right?

After a few months of learning to be creative for the pure joy of it, I finally felt I could dip my toe back into the world of pet paintings. It was a cautious asn scary step. I didn’t know what it would bring. Tears or joy. However I proceeded with trepidation and started a horse portrait. A very patient client had been waiting for me and was happy for me to take my time with her painting It created a lot f mixed emotions. Having been out of painting them for a year, would I still be able to? Could I create a likeness? Did I still have the confidence? Would my client even like it? It was, thankfully a success. The confidence wasn’t back a 100% yet and it wasn’t long before it was tested to the maximum by being asked to paint a huge dog portrait. Not only was it large but it had a comples background with not so great photos and a not so long completion date. They were defintely workable but created a challenge to get to size I wanted. I decided to be honest with my client and explain my siutauton with regard to my return to work and he was so understanding. I took the leap and accepted Maisie’s pet portrait. It turned out I relished the challenge and it turned out better than I expected and my client was also delighted. Phew I thnk most artists are our harshest critics at the best of times, never mind when you are recovering from a nervous break down and creating a pet portraits of peoples beloved pets!

A pet portrait of golden retriever sititng on the beach at sunset

This undoubtably helped my confidence grow some more. I am now back accepting pet portraits part time. I cant quite manage full time yet. It’s too much and I am also terrified of loosing the magic again. To help balance I am exploring my new found love of lino printing and also trying to learn to work in a loose, more expressive style. The kingfisher is one piece I created recently and is for sale. Prints and cards and all my lino prints can be found for sale in my Etsy store Sarah Leigh Art

Acrylic painting of a kingfisher with a beautiful jade background

If you would like to browse more of my work please feel free to browse the pet portrait galleries

Dog portraits.

Cat Portraits

Horse Portraits