From a dogaholic with no plans for recovery, to painting custom pet portraits, Maine’s Lynn Ericson’s passion for animals shines through. “I just love their faces. They reveal so much about their personality, temperament and mood.
She told Paws it’s no surprise that she has become involved with custom pet portraits. ”I would find a photo of an animal I wanted to paint, and I got hooked, immediately… Once I get the eyes right, the painting seems to just come together”
Ericson paints the custom portrait from photographs that are sent to her. Once she receives some digital photos, she works with owners to find the best pose and color scheme. She sends the final draft out for tweaks and suggestions till they get it just right. It can take from ten days to three weeks to have the final product in-hand.
The painting will look a tad different from the photo. “It’s really an expression of what I see in the animal. I love using color. For example, a black animal is so much easier to paint than photograph” because there is the mix of blue, purple, turquoise and brown, in the black. That makes for greater definition.
Ericson is no stranger to helping animals. She was on the Board of Directors of the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland for three years. In addition, she volunteered for Dogs Deserve Better and Maine Friends of Animals.
“These experiences have made me sensitive to the plight of homeless, neglected and abused animals. Nothing feels worse to me than knowing an animal is suffering and not being able to do anything about it—because of antiquated laws or cruel owners. And nothing feels better than helping an animal start a new life. Having two rescue dogs has been the most rewarding experience for me—seeing them blossom and thrive.”
“I love the process which involves talking to people who love animals. I feel somehow bonded with them,” she said. A lot of people tell her she has captured the animal’s personality, which is better than having it just look like the animal. She says the word animal because portraits can be of cows, pigs, lambs, as well as cats, dogs or birds.
Many people solicit her services as a gift. So with the impending holidays, a pet portrait might be a creative forever gift for that special person, especially if that person has a special pet as part of their life.Most people wanting pet portraits either love their animals or they love someone else who loves their animal. The portraits indeed make for a unique, different holiday present.
Art is something that’s been part of Ericson’s life for almost forever. She has a master’s degree in Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology with a concentration in graphic/communication design. She operated a design business, Ericson Mitchell Design and Marketing, for over 20 years.
Like most graphic designers, she fantasized about being a painter, and two years ago she took the plunge. She hadn’t picked up a paintbrush since art school. “I was scared to death I would be (an) awful (artist) but I just loved it”. She’s been painting ever since.
She said her design background has helped her become a better painter. It helped improve her composition and her use of color in addition to training her eye and developing technical skills that help her capture that special feeling from that special furry friend. .
Now 54, Ericson would like to save all the homeless animals without them all ending up in her home. She now has one dog, one step dog, and three cats, which she says is pretty moderate for her.
She recounts the story of her rescue Golden who had been outside 24/7, chained to a dog house some distance from the family home. “It drove me absolutely crazy to have to drive by him, especially with the family outside and the dog straining at his chain to be included. When I finally adopted him at 13, he was 20 pounds underweight, matted and unable to walk across my wooden floors.”
He just blossomed. ”We named him Phoenix, and he had 3 wonderful years of being loved and pampered until he died at 16. This was one of the best experiences of my life,” one which has helped her capture the true essence of a special animal’s personality on canvas.
It’s this passion that shines through in Ericson’s pet portraits. For more information about Lynn and her contact info, visit her website at www.lynnericsonfineart.com or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lynnericsonfineart.