Artist of the week: Gillian Ussher
This week, we speak to Gillian Ussher about how she became a full-time pet portrait artist.
“I have always been obsessed with animals and have spent every spare moment drawing and painting, so I feel massively grateful to be a full-time pet portrait artist.
It started when I donated some art to local rescues from which I had adopted my own pets, and they lead to requests for paid commissioned work. I was working in a job I hated at the time, so I was lucky enough to be able to leave and concentrate full time on art.
I absolutely worship my own pets, so when someone commissions me to capture their pet it is a huge honour. I find it very emotional when asked to draw a pet which has passed away but it's the most wonderful feeling to be able to help someone by creating a portrait which commemorates their pet in such a personal way.
I began working in oils, but once I discovered pastels I found that they were perfect for what I wanted to portray when drawing a pet. Their familiarity, the features we grow to know better than we know our own and their unique character which cements them firmly into our families and into our hearts.
We rescued Rua who is a Hungarian Vizsla from Vizsla Rescue three years ago, so Vizslas feature a lot in my portfolio! We also have Ogie the Jack Russell cross and Jet the cat. Ogie's portrait was the first I ever painted, It's a constant battle to try to find time to paint Rua and Jet too."