Pet Portraits: A Timeless Way to Memorialize Our Companions

painted portrait of a hunting dog in a field with a wild bird in autumn


Many people miss out on the opportunity to commission a portrait of their beloved pet because they simply don’t know that the possibility exists. However, Portraits, Inc. exclusive artist Scott Woolever has spent much of his career spreading the joy of pet portraiture to animal lovers. With his paintbrush, he captures the unique spark in cherished animal companions.


Around 95% of pet owners consider their animals to be members of their family. Owning a pet has measurable health benefits, including lowering stress and more frequent physical activity from playing with and walking pets. Children who have pets have higher levels of empathy and self-esteem than other children. Having pets can even help people form meaningful relationships with other pet owners.


Commissioning a fine art portrait is a wonderful way to memorialize your pet and celebrate the multitude of ways in which he or she contributes to your family.


Meet Scott Woolever: Animal Lover and Portrait Artist


When he was young, Scott Woolever never intended to be an artist. In fact, he had planned to attend law school, but animal and landscape portraiture were too magnetic for him to resist. In his opinion, animals are unconditionally genuine when they look at you. They have no agenda; they aren’t trying to look majestic or sweet. They are what they are, and that has always fascinated and inspired him.


Much of Mr. Woolever’s inspiration comes from the geographic region where he resides. His home studio overlooks a river, which is the perfect setting for his landscape work. Animals have a way of inserting themselves into landscapes, and much of his work has showcased hunting dogs, birds, and other creatures.


Early in his career, Mr. Woolever would receive commission requests after pet owners saw his art on display in galleries. Over time, he developed a reputation for creating beautiful portraits of people with their pets and paintings that showcased precious animals.


Since pets exist in an environment, he has spent much of his career studying both animal and landscape painting. Artists like Diego Velázquez and Edwin Landseer, as well as the Barbizon school of painters, Hudson River School, and French impressionist painters, have inspired and informed his art style.


a painted head study of a black and white cat


Capturing Something Genuine


Like human portraiture, pet portraiture strives to capture something true and genuine about the subject. When Mr. Woolever is preparing for a portrait, he likes to spend time with the animal. Whether the subject is a dog, cat, horse, or hawk, he studies how the animal behaves.


The eyes often give away what matters to his subjects. They may not be interested in him, but when they look at something else, it can be electrifying. He watches for telltale signs when the pet owner says certain words or phrases that encourage the pet to behave in a particular way and show its personality.


An asset to his work is his wife, Libby. Together, they get acquainted with an animal and take many photos. Afterward, they discuss the animal to find angles and behaviors that resonate with him. “I try to find that spark of life that I see in them that’s genuine, that’s not overly sentimental, that’s real. If I start to get that in a painting, then I know the painting is alive. I can’t tell you how I know, but I’ll feel it,” he says.


painted portrait of a dog laying on the carpet beside a couch


What Motivates Pet Owners?


The primary motivation for commissioning pet portraits, in Mr. Woolever’s opinion, is a deep love for the pets who are vital to their owners’ lives. He told the story of a portrait that he created for a pair of sisters. A few minutes after his first meeting with the sisters, he realized that both women were blind. He was astonished by the depth of love that influenced their decision to commission a portrait of their beloved dogs.


Pets, unfortunately, have much shorter lifespans than their owners. A lot of clients express appreciation for their pet’s portrait after their beloved companion has passed. Animal portraits make a beautiful and unexpected gift that pet owners cherish at the moment, and for decades to come.


Is It Time to Begin Your Commission?


Portraiture is a beautiful, unique way to memorialize our loved ones, whether they have two legs or four. If you’d like to learn more about Mr. Woolever’s work or would like to begin your own commissioning process with Portraits, Inc., speak with one of our sales associates today.

About Portraits, Inc.:

If you have a vision that can only be served by a fine art painting, then the right time to commission a piece is now. Request more information on commissioning a fine art portrait from Portraits Inc., or give us a call at 1-800-476-1223 today.