Pet Portraits

We have several wonderful pet portrait artists in Asheville and we have had a great time framing their work as well as our customer's pet art from near and far.  Recently,  Ashley White Jacobsen, of Asheville, answered a few questions about her artistic style, process and interest in painting pet portraits. Please take a few minutes to check out Ashley's website along with the other talented artists listed at the end of this post. 

Frugal Framer: Tell us a little about yourself and your art

Ashley:  My name is Ashley White Jacobsen, I also go by artist name Ashleyspirals. I was born and have lived most of my life in North Carolina. I am married, have a wonderful dog that we rescued from Brother Wolf and I am a new mom to an incredible little boy.

I have been making art most of my life. My mom often says one of the first things she placed in my hand was a crayon. I started focusing on painting animals in 2006 and selling my work online. In the recent progression of my work I have focused more on pet portraits, but I do take commissions for portraits of children. I also have had quite a few commissions for “eye portraits,” where I paint a single eye. It is important to me in both animal and human subjects to capture the emotion and personality in the eyes. I primarily paint the portraits using watercolor and gouache, and I also incorporate colored pencil into the finishing details of the work.

Frugal Framer: When did you begin to specialize in animal and pet portraits?

Ashley: I started to focus on pet portraits around 2014.

Frugal Framer: How do you capture the character of a family pet? Do you talk with the owner to understand the pet's personality?

Frugal Framer: When necessary I do ask questions about the pet’s personality, but often, if it is a good photograph the pet’s personality comes through. I often look at several photographs of the animal while painting.

Ashley: I see that you also paint portraits of people - what do you find challenging about people vs. pets?

Frugal Framer: Portraits of pets are equally challenging as people, capturing the authentic personality is important to me and people often have a hard time relaxing or “being themselves” in photographs. Also there is an innocence of spirit with pets and animals; this is why I like painting children also, the beautiful spirit of young people.

www.ashleyspirals.com

https://www.facebook.com/AshleyspiralsArt

Jack Lindsay is a pastel artist who spent his career in business, textile design and theatrical scenic design prior to moving to Western North Carolina. After moving to Asheville he tapped into his love of nature, wild life and art to begin a new adventure in painting animals.  He works primarily in pastels and has a body of 600+ paintings to illustrate his expertise in pet portraits.  Visit his website to see more of his work and take a minute to read the testimonials, he has made an impact with his work!

A dog and a frame!

Sometimes an idea hits and it takes a while to make it a reality.  For a couple of years I have wanted to highlight pet portraits and local pet portrait artists. In my mind, I wanted to have our family dog, Willi Mae, pose or jump through a frame and create this wonderful moment capturing her energy and spunk.  Well.......she is a Wheaton Terrier with parents who have not invested the time to train her in the ways of calm posing and agile jumping through set targets.  So the idea rested in my mind for a while until I realized that one of our customers and consultants, not only has two agility-trained dogs, but he also had the enthusiasm to spend a couple of hours with his dogs, a couple of photographers and a 20"x24" frame!

Willi Mae, posing... after coaxing and treats!  She didn't think it was very fun......

Willi Mae, posing... after coaxing and treats!  She didn't think it was very fun......

Tupelo, READY but waiting patiently.......

Tupelo, READY but waiting patiently.......

Tupelo, Joe's Border Collie was absolutely amazing!  She knew exactly what to do and at Joe's command she would nimbly jump through the frame as we held it in place.  At the end of every jump she would open the ball Joe had tossed and enjoy a treat.  

I was amazed by this pup who jumped through the 20"x24" frame about 30 times!

I was amazed by this pup who jumped through the 20"x24" frame about 30 times!

Then, off to a nearby field to shoot the backdrop.

Then, off to a nearby field to shoot the backdrop.

Thanks go to Joe and his two agility dogs, Tupelo and Pepper.  Amazing photographs were taken by Zach Gallman and Samantha Henry of Coua Coua Photo + Marketing.  Zach and Sam made the process so fun and easy and were up for all of our ideas and suggestions. Check out their website at couacoua.squarespace.com   ~~~~  Assistance for the graphic design and ad development came from Katie Avant of Avant Creative.  Katie is a huge help when it comes to pulling an idea together quickly and with style.  Visit her website at avantcreative.me to see more of her graphic design and photography.  THANK YOU Joe, Tupelo, Pepper, Zach, Sam and Katie!

~ Jennifer Pearson, Frugal Framer

Frugal Framer May 17 Ad_Dog.jpg

Eva's Story

When is a piece of art a true treasure?  Is it valuable because of the artist or because of the provenance of the art?

I have found that a true treasure can be defined for these reasons as well as another reason; to tell a story that is of timeless importance. At Frugal Framer we hear fascinating stories of the art we frame every day.  Recently we had the pleasure of framing a portrait from the 1940’s.  The impressionist style painting pictures Eva Sacks Lebby, the Great-Aunt of a customer.  Eva (1903-1983) was a nurse with the Philadelphia School System until she joined the army at the start of World War II.  Eva began her wartime career at Camp Croft in Spartanburg, South Carolina and ended her first year of service in North Africa with the 48th Surgical Hospital.  Eva undoubtedly faced obstacles and dangers as she served her country.  She was a part of the landing at Arzew, a port town occupied by German forces and located close to the strategic port city of Oran.  In 1943, Eva was transferred to the 12th General Hospital with which she served in Italy.

It is in this period that Eva undoubtedly commissioned her portrait.  The beautiful painting captures a pointed gaze, but is free of the wartime atmosphere she surely endured.  Although the artist is not known and therefore the actual monetary value is unable to be specifically determined or appraised, preserving and displaying Eva’s portrait and her story is of definite historical and emotional value to her family. In addition to passing down the beautiful painting, Eva wrote many wartime letters home documenting her experience in the army unit, the relative merits of general hospitals and evacuation hospitals, descriptions of her on and off-duty uniforms, sight-seeing in Italy and discussions about romance and wartime relationships. Together with her portrait, the letters serve as a valuable reminder of the war-time contribution made by female members of the armed forces. Ernie Pyle, the Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent mentioned Eva in his book, “Here Is Your War”, describing in length the medical team that came from Charlotte, N.C. and all they did for the troops in Africa. Eva’s niece conveyed to us that her aunt was a strong female presence in her life and that preserving and displaying the painting is a way to pay homage to Eva’s life and influence. 

Eva's story is compelling and framing her portrait was a treat for us.  The portrait came to us already in the lovely round frame. Eva's niece had the painting and frame restored by Michael Garone Antique Restoration, in Montclair, New Jersey in 2014. Because of the delicate nature of the painting and the frame (a paper maché creation), additional protection by framing was needed.  We worked with the customer to find the perfect frame with the correct depth to house the framed painting.  From there, using conservation materials such as acid free matting and UV protective glass to prohibit sun damage, we moved forward with the project.  The following photographs show a bit of the process.  

A detail of the delicate, handmade original frame.

A detail of the delicate, handmade original frame.

Securing the framed portrait through acid free backing.

Securing the framed portrait through acid free backing.

Cleaning the glass after the mat board sidewalls are secure and holding the UV glass in place.

Cleaning the glass after the mat board sidewalls are secure and holding the UV glass in place.

The art secure within a shadowbox frame. 

The art secure within a shadowbox frame. 

Many thanks go to Eva's family for allowing us to share Eva's portrait and her story.                       ~Jennifer Pearson, Frugal Framer