Artist of the week: Carina Kelly
I am a coloured pencil portrait artist aged 34 that specialises in pet portraits. I am based in Reading Berkshire and have been drawing since the age of 4 years old. I started drawing horses and kept showing my mum everyday and she gave me the confidence to keep going and practising. I carried on with my art through school and college and gained one of the highest grades at Newbury college in a Btec foundation diploma in art and design at level 3, which was three distinction stars! I am a mother of two girls aged 3 and 8 and also own two dogs myself. This is how I became interested in drawing pets as they are family members that mean so much to people!
I get many people/customers asking to capture their dogs, cats horses and other pets as they feel that having a bespoke portrait of their beloved furries is far more special than having a printed photograph. Each portrait is drawn by hand and coloured using light fast coloured pencils on premium paper. I ask my customers to send me as many photos of their pets and I work very closely with each and every customer to gain the highest results possible!! They even get step by step progress photo updates so they can see each portrait come to life. My portraits take up to two weeks to produce depending on size and how much detail is involved and no size of paper scares me in the slightest.
I have been so lucky to have created rainbow bridge portraits of many dogs that have passed away, sometimes this is very challenging as I always want to challenge myself in making it even more special to client by capturing their character through their eyes and fur.
Carrying on my art has been something very important to me as it is used not only to make people happy but as a coping mechanism for long term depression and anxiety I basically use art as therapy and without it I don't think I would be the person I am today.
The hardest thing of all for me is when a portrait is completed, I know that sounds strange but for all the hours I spend drawing its sometimes really hard parting with my work, what makes it more special though is when a customer send you an overwhelming response with how happy they are with my work. I've even made customers cry, not because they hate the work, but because they are so overwhelmed and feel that looking at my work makes them feel even more closer to their dogs, especially if they've passed to the rainbow.