Rachael Rossman: Pet Portrait Artist
If you’re a fan of Twitter and Martha Stewart like we are, then you’re already familiar with the work of pet portrait artist Rachael Rossman. The Oregon-based artist created a watercolor of Martha’s French bulldogs, Francesca and Sharkey, that’s been featured both on MarthaStewart.com and on the Twitter page for these famous dogs. Recently DogTipper.com caught up with Rachael Rossman to learn more about her career as a pet portrait artist.
Can you tell us about your background and how you first came to paint pet portraits?
I have been an artist all my life in one capacity or another, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that my passion for painting was fully realized. For many years, I was a competitive equestrian, participating in hunter/jumper shows throughout the northwest. When my first child was born and my schedule precluded daily rides, I started using my art as a way to live out my equestrian dreams vicariously!
I started painting horse show scenes and then people started asking me to paint portraits of their horses. Horse people usually have one or two dogs around the barn and they began asking for portraits of them too.
Last year, blogger Heather B. Armstrong posted my portrait of her dog Chuck to her website, dooce.com. My website went from about 20 visitors one day to over 5,000 the next. It was amazing!
Recently one of your watercolors of Martha Stewart’s French Bulldogs was used on MarthaStewart.com. Can you tell us more about that and how it came about?
I paint things that inspire me. She had these great photos of her little dogs on her website and I was just COMPELLED to paint them. I emailed a photo of the painting to her administrative manager who said, “Don’t send these to the office; this needs to go directly to Martha’s home.” and gave me her contact information. A few days later, she emailed me and said the painting would be featured on the pet blog, The Daily Wag on marthastewart.com.
Your beautiful watercolor dog portraits really seem to capture the individuality of each dog. What can you tell us about your watercolor technique?
My watercolor technique is very un-fussy; I think people are drawn to my work who aren’t looking for that photo realism. I try to capture the spirit of each dog in my work, based on what the owners tell me about them. I learn a lot from the kind of photos that the owner chooses to send me. Clients will mention, “This is my dog on his favorite chair or my dog always does this little thing with her ears.”
What can you tell us about your clayboard engravings and how this medium captures a dog in an entirely different way?
The clayboard engravings are really where it all started. I think early on I was a little uncomfortable with the responsibility of using color in my work and was very focused on creating a perfect rendering. My watercolors are a progression for me as an artist; I think I’m able to capture more personality with less fussy detail. The color, spattered texture and loose strokes in my watercolors really generate a different energy.
What else would you like the readers of DogTipper.com to know about your work?
I’m a 21st Century artist! I work out of my home studio in Salem, Oregon and most of my correspondence with clients is by email.
I have a “day job” as well, but I am determined to follow my passion and grow my business and make this my full time career. I have two small children and want them to grow up living creative lives too!
For More Information:
- visit www.rachaelrossman.com (has links to Facebook and Twitter)
Artwork courtesy Rachael Rossman