Artist of the week: Donna Mulley – Pet Portrait Artist
Find out how Ted the Bernese Mountain Dog changed everything for Pet Portrait Artist Donna Mulley...
I’ve enjoyed drawing and painting ever since I was a little girl, and been animal-crazy for as long as I can remember, but, as is often the case, raising a family and running a business left little free time for hobbies.
Several years ago things began to change. Grown up children left me with enough time to add Bernese Mountain Dog Ted to the family, followed a few years later by his sister Jess. Looking back, Ted changed everything. I found myself completely besotted by this loveable lump of fluff and in an alarmingly short time morphed from busy mum into crazy dog lady.
A couple of years ago, with time on my hands and while following a handful of artists on Facebook, I struck up a friendship with one particular coloured pencil artist, Lisa Watkins. Although I still dabbled with paints from time to time I hadn’t given coloured pencils a second thought since school days. However, with Lisa’s encouragement I invested in a selection of Faber Castell colours and followed her simple advice “Practice, practice, practice”. What better subject to practice with than my beloved Bernese.
In no time at all I was both converted and addicted. I love the versatility of coloured pencils and the level of detail I can achieve with them.
I guess I’ve been practicing ever since. I still look at each project as practice for the next and naturally the beautiful Bernese has been a regularly recurring theme.
I feel humbled that people trust me to capture the character or preserve the memory of their beloved pets and blessed that I now spend the majority of my time in my Suffolk home studio with pencil or paintbrush in hand. With the right reference photos I’ll turn my hand to drawing most animals, but dogs are my favourite subjects.