Lilly © Kylie Fogarty
“Lilly” © Kylie Fogarty ~ see below for a clip on how the painting evolved!

Pet Portrait of Lilly, a very special rescue dog who has brought much love and happiness to her family.

Let me tell you about Lilly! I was commissioned to create Lilly’s portrait as a special Birthday present for Jen, Lilly’s owner.

As always, being invited to create a special pet portrait of a much loved pet is such a wonderful experience, and creating Lilly was no different. The first thing that I noticed about Lilly was her eyes; I felt they were a great indication of her personality and character.

I started the portrait as I always do with a some studies, which always include a blind contour or two, one of which is an ACEO, its a great way to help me focus on which area I feel drawn to. In Lilly’s case it was her eyes.

This is where I find single line contour drawings also help me to focus. I often get so inspired that I want to add in every little detail – the line drawing allows my creative eye to relax and helps me to focus on what I first am drawn to, and to what is actually necessary to relay personality traits.

After I have determined which features to focus on, I start on the portrait, hand drawing first, using professional grade, fine art papers and archival pigment pen. I am usually reluctant to share my images of my works at this stage, as they rarely look anything like the finished artwork. I’ve often left areas out, (I can see them in my artist’s mind but anyone looking on would be a bit confused), ready to be filled in at a later date.

Once completed with the drawing and I am satisfied, I begin adding in the colour. In Lilly’s portrait, this was done with subtle additions of ink, painted in by brush.

I had the option to increase the saturation of Lilly’s fur and features, however, after discussing this with Jen, this was an aspect of her portrait that she felt captured Lilly’s personality.

I have recently discovered an app called Picflow which allows you to join photos together to create a slideshow – it’s very easy to use! So I thought I’d share with you a slideshow of how Lilly’s portrait came together..check out the picflow clip below!


While it’s lovely to share about my portrait of Lilly, I thought you might like to hear about the amazing story of how Lilly found Jen and her furever family… this is such an inspiring story on how Lilly, a rescue dog from  ACT Rescue and Foster (ARF) came into Jen’s family and how you can make such a difference in a rescued pet’s life.

Jen kindly agreed to share her story of Lilly finding her forever family – I’m certain you will enjoy reading what an amazing friendship they now have….

Lilly and Jen…. 

“Lilly was adopted by Jed (my first dog) and myself nearly 10 years ago.  Jed was a 10 month old kelpie x border collie and really needed a friend to keep him company (and help wear him out!).  We contacted ACT Rescue and Foster (ARF) and were introduced to Lilly.  She was a gorgeous cattle dog x kelpie, the same age as Jed and they immediately hit it off.  Lilly had had a very traumatic life up to this point having been terribly abused by a former owner and was terrified of humans. All other potential adopters had rejected her because of this but I decided she was worth taking a chance on though and, even if she never learned to trust me, she and Jed loved each other so much it’d be worth it!

Two days after Lilly joined our family I received a phone call at work from Domestic Animal Services (DAS) telling me that they had found my dog and I needed to get home fast as the police were waiting to talk to me.  I freaked out, as you can imagine.  They said dog, not dogs.  Where was the other!  I rushed home to hear the story.  A man had tried to break into my house.  My dogs had chased him through the gate (which was still closed at the time) and through the suburb.  Jed was picked up but Lilly was missing.  The police and inspectors from DAS, together with neighbours and ARF volunteers, Jed and myself began the search. 

For a week Jed and I walked through the streets and fields searching for Lilly with no sign.  Every day we were meeting groups of people we’d never met before but who’d heard about her through the rescue grapevine and were also looking for her.  Finally I thought I’d have to admit she was gone.  I was at a neighbour’s house when we looked up to see a dirty, skinny, terrified dog peering around the wall.  It was Lilly.  She’d somehow found her way home! After the all clear from the vet and a good bath, she’s been my baby ever since.  She’s still a very nervous dog with a few quirks (such as compulsively licking absolutely everything until we make her stop!) but she’s gone from hiding in the corner of the room shaking and crying if anyone even looks in her direction to being a relatively normal, though timid, dog.

Over the past 10 years Lilly, Jed and I have built a family together.  We’ve added my husband and Puck, their terrier sister, and 3 cats, Loki, Tompa and Anansi.  Lilly has taken in all the other animals as her babies (much to the cats’ disgust at time – especially bath time!).  She’s one of nature’s mothers and doesn’t care what the species is.  If it’s a baby, she wants to mother it! 

Nearly 3 years ago we received devastating news.  Lilly had systemic lupus and it was bad.  She was giving 12 months to live.  She proved them wrong though.  She wasn’t going yet! 

While she’s on the downward slide now, her kidneys and liver are slowly failing and we know that soon it will be time to say goodbye, she’s still happy and loving her life with us, her boy Jed and all her babies. ~ Jen “[/fusion_text]There is a great deal of satisfaction when a commission is delivered to its happy and excited owner. I love to create artworks for my clients who have something special in mind. This is a bittersweet portrait as my heart goes out to Jen and her family, as Lilly struggles with her health. Such a beautiful dog, I was honored to be invited to paint her portrait. I wanted to make sure I had painted a portrait that provided not only a likeness to Lilly but also gave essence of her personality. It is wonderful to know when I have delivered a work which will be cherished for years to come.

” With regard to the strength of colour, I love it at the level it is now.  It just seems to work with Lilly and her personality.  …. I first saw your work at the RSPCA Scary Cat Night at the Old Bus Depot Markets and fell in love with all of it.  I’ve have been putting aside photos of all of the animals to get a series done. When S asked if I would like one for my birthday, Lilly was the obvious choice to begin given we aren’t sure how much longer she’ll be with us.  She is a very special dog and I’m so happy to have such a beautiful portrait for when the inevitable happens.  ….. Thank you again for creating such a perfect portrait for us to treasure. Cheers  Jen “

I donate 10% of my Pet Portrait Commission Fee to the ACT RSPCA to help support them with all the amazing work they do. If you would like to help them as well, or just get more information about your loved pet, please visit here.

I’m now busy putting the finishing touches on my current commission and preparing for my upcoming exhibition in September ~ Keeping Company, a group exhibition with Carole Osmotherly and Judy Witherdin, to be held at Strathnairn Arts Gallery in the Woolshed Gallery. Keep an eye out for what evolves from my studio, and if you are interested in having a sneak peak of works in progress, don’t forget to join up to my Mailing List! 

Have a great week everyone! ~ K

If you enjoyed reading about Lilly and her forever home, you may also enjoy reading about Vivie the Rainbow Dog and Oscar – A gorgeous cat who found his furever home with Kylie and Mark.

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