Pet Por­traits

Cher­ish or memo­ri­al­ize them in pho­tos, sculp­tures and paint­ings

RSWLiving - - Contents - BY ANN MARIE O’PHEL AN Ann Marie O’Phe­lan is a South­west Florida res­i­dent and a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to TOTI Me­dia.

Pet own­ers through­out Florida have a va­ri­ety of artis­tic choices when it comes to show­ing their love of liv­ing pets—or pre­serv­ing pre­cious mem­o­ries of de­ceased ones. Pho­to­graphs, sculp­tures and paint­ings also make ter­rific gifts or cards for birth­days and hol­i­days, or to give as thank-you presents.


Port Char­lotte-based Patty Ste­fan Pho­tog­ra­phy is a mobile pet por­trait pho­tog­ra­phy com­pany. Pho­tos can be taken out­doors or in the com­fort of a home. Owner/pho­tog­ra­pher Patty Ste­fan has clients who want to give that per­fect gift and has cus­tomers look­ing to doc­u­ment their pet’s life—from pup­py­hood to adult­hood and even end of life. Peo­ple seek ways to en­sure that their furry com­pan­ion’s life is cre­atively pre­served.

Ses­sion fees start at $200, de­pend­ing on lo­ca­tion and num­ber of pets. “Our furry fam­ily mem­bers leave such an in­deli­ble impression on our hearts that it only makes sense that we would want to in­clude them in the fam­ily por­trait—or pre­serve their mem­ory in a qual­ity photo that cap­tures their unique char­ac­ter,” Ste­fan ex­plains. Patty Ste­fan Pho­tog­ra­phy, Port Char­lotte; 941-276-3327; pat­tys­te­


Michelle S. Wood, owner/pho­tog­ra­pher of Paws & Prints Pet Pho­tog­ra­phy in Naples, strives to capture beau­ti­ful, cher­ished pho­tos of beloved pets, in all stages of their life. She meets with clients or speaks by phone to de­cide the “best set­ting” for photo ses­sions—whether it be a fa­vorite couch or park. Clients re­ceive “cus­tom art­work at all price points” and Wood “walks away feel­ing like they had an amaz­ing experience from start to fin­ish.” She adds: “I will do what­ever it takes to ac­com­plish that for them.”

In ad­di­tion to work­ing with pri­vate clients, many of whom have be­come friends, Wood ex­plains she has do­nated hun­dreds of hours of pho­tog­ra­phy/graphic de­sign ser­vices. Re­cip­i­ents are lo­cal pet res­cues and shel­ters, namely Hu­mane So­ci­ety Naples. Paws & Prints Pet Pho­tog­ra­phy, Naples; 239-370-8499; pawsand­printspho­tog­ra­


Sculptors Dwayne and Cindy King own Old Road Gallery in Tav­ernier, in the Florida Keys. Cindy ex­plains that her process be­gins with a client con­sul­ta­tion in per­son or via email. Pho­tos are pro­vided and sizes, po­si­tions and other de­tails of the pro­posed sculp­ture are dis­cussed.

Cindy then sculpts out of stoneware clay, lets the piece dry and bisque fires it. She glazes with col­ors to match the pet, end­ing with a fi­nal high fir­ing. The process can take four to six weeks and prices range from $325 to $1,200.

Her pet sculp­tures really took off af­ter she cre­ated a replica of her beloved Bos­ton ter­rier and dis­played it in their gallery. “I speak for my­self and many oth­ers when I say that our pets are indeed true mem­bers of the fam­ily.” Cindy adds that some clients or­der sculp­tures when their pets are alive; oth­ers use the sculp­ture “as a me­mo­rial and as a way to ease the pain, and keep their spirit alive.” Old Road Gallery, 88888 Old High­way, Tav­ernier; 305-852-8935; ol­droadgalle­


Sean P. Cal­la­han has been paint­ing wa­ter­col­ors of dogs for about 30 years, in­spired by artists An­drew Wyeth, Winslow Homer and John Singer Sar­gent. He be­gan paint­ing his yel­low Labs while liv­ing on a Ver­mont farm. Cal­la­han’s busi­ness, Dog Tired Stu­dio and Gallery, is now in Key West.

His main focus is dogs and pet por­trai­ture but he’s grown into mu­rals, acrylics, col­lages and other works. Clients send a pho­to­graph and Cal­la­han first does a draw­ing. He then sends the com­po­si­tions and pro­vides daily up­dates so cus­tomers can see the work un­fold. Upon com­ple­tion, he mails the por­trait back to his client.

His pet por­traits cost $700, and the size ranges up to 20-by-30-inch wa­ter­color pa­per. “I have had the great joy of be­ing given the honor of paint­ing peo­ple’s loved ones,” says Cal­la­han, “and if the paint­ing brings tears to their eyes, I know I have done my job.” Dog Tired Stu­dio, 1011 White­head St., Key West; 802-989-5910; dogtired­stu­

Peo­ple seek ways to en­sure that their furry com­pan­ion’s life is cre­atively pre­served.

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