Creating portraits of people and fancy houses was one of the ways Lowell Morris supported himself as he attended art school in the 80s. Now, most of his portrait subjects have fur.

The idea to offer pet portraits emerged when Morris took a self-employment program through Powell River’s Community Futures—a perfect service for a pet-loving community.

“People genuinely love their pets as important family members,” Morris confirmed. “It’s because of those feelings that a pet portrait ends up being an emotional experience for everyone, including me.”

Isn’t it difficult to get a pet to sit still that long? No. Morris meets the pets, if possible, but his realistic drawings and paintings are created from a photograph. “The technique of accuracy is the most challenging part, especially the fur,” Morris shared, “But the most important part—capturing the soul, essence or the character of the pet—comes easier to me. Maybe because I love animals,” he added.

Most often pet portrait commissions are from people planning a special surprise gift for a loved one with a much-loved pet. Being in on the secret is fun for the artist. Sometimes the process is more of a special honour.

“If the pet is no longer alive, this is a way to memorialize it,” Morris said.

Geoff Allan, who had a portrait of his dog Georgia done, said, “I was very impressed that Lowell was able to skillfully capture her essence, which is her gentleness and concentration. In other words, he managed to capture the ‘look’ that Georgia fixed on me whenever she was near.” Allan also said that the portrait, which hangs proudly on his art wall, brings him great joy, especially now that Georgia is gone.

Morris is able to accommodate most budgets with options from a simple sketch to more detailed black and white or colour drawings, and has even done full-colour paintings.

Pet portraits make up the majority of business for Lowell Morris Portraits and Fine Arts, now it its seventh year. Morris is also commissioned for non-pet portraits and sells nature prints and greeting cards in Powell River and online.

Samples of Morris’ work, including the drawing of Georgia, can be viewed at lowellmorris.com

“Seeing the joy and excitement on my client’s face when they see the portrait makes my job rewarding,” he said.

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