CHEK Upside: Lantzville artist celebrating pets with portraits

CHEK Upside: Lantzville artist celebrating pets with portraits

Growing up as an aspiring artist, Zann Hemphill would always draw animals.

“There were always animals kind of walking across my notebooks or on my desk if I didn’t have paper,” says Hemphill.

After years of practicing her craft, Hemphill started to debate leaving her marketing job and pursuing her pet paintings full-time.

“I made a business plan and I thought ‘well if I can get to a certain amount of sale, I think it was $1000 a month, then that’s enough proof of concept that I can stop working full time somewhere else,'” says Hemphill.

Now, Hemphill has a dedicated home studio, where for the last five years she has created hundreds of oil paintings, including many memorial works for owners grieving the loss of their pets.

“They get to have this thing where it feels like okay, I’ve worked through all of these memories, like looking through all these photos, I got to talk to someone about them,” says Hemphill.

“Then this piece of them, this embodiment is coming home.”

Each painting presents its own challenge, from subtle details to sourcing suitable photos of each animal. For that Hemphill has some simple tips.

First, turn off all the lights inside and take the picture by a window and then get down to their eye level and take a picture from six feet away,” says Hemphill.

“It will look way better than anything you’ve done shooting downwards.”

After countless paintings, the suspense of seeing how each work of art will turn out keeps Hemphill coming back to her canvases, brushes and paints.

“That surprising part keeps me hooked on art in general, but pet portraits more specifically because at the very least I know there’s going to be a dog in there or a cat in there and that’s a very nice thing to find,” says Hemphill.

To check out more of Hemphill’s art, visit her website.

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Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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