Equally obsessed with drawing and animals at a very early age, my first scribbles were of bears, horses, lions and dogs. If it had four paws and furry ears, it was in my sketch book. Or preferably in my lap. As I got older, my attachment to animals only grew. I collected bullfrogs, tried to tame stray animals, and occasionally made brave little woodland friends.
A college art degree and a few decades later, I was working as a freelance graphic designer when I hired a man named George, a 65 year-old CPA, to help me with my taxes. Once he found out I did some painting on the side, he asked for a portrait of his Cockapoos, Honey and Sonny. Although I hadn’t painted an animal in years (the work I was showing and selling at the time were landscapes and human subjects), I told him I’d give it a shot. He quickly produced a photo of his pooches and I went to work.
To my surprise, when I showed George the finished painting he wept a little, then my stoic CPA gave me a bear hug. His reaction was validating enough as an artist (believe me, no one had ever cried over my landscapes) that next week I began spreading the word to friends and family that I was now doing custom “pet portraits.” Commissions trickled in slowly over the first few years , but after a while I made the decision to drop graphic design altogether and make the leap to full-time artist.
Incredibly fun and rewarding experiences resulted from that one decision—working with fantastic clients (many of whom are now friends) all over the world, meeting oodles of animals, helping raise funds for the Humane Society, and even having the amazing opportunity to share my work on national television..
THE SWITCH: FROM CANINES TO BOVINES
After thirteen years of being entrusted to paint my clients’ beloved dog and cats, the timing finally felt right to switch gears and focus on some new creatures. I started by poking around flickr.com (a photo sharing site) for some visual inspiration and ended up being introduced to the work of Markus Renner, an award-winning photographer. I was immediately drawn to a wise-looking goat he photographed and suddenly a farm animal series was born. First came a Goat, then a Piglet, then a few larger than life cows.
And as someone who has always been captivated by home decor magazines, this year I’m also branching out to provide bold, animal-specific artwork to interior designers and their animal loving clients.
If you have a deep love of animals and hate bare walls, I’d love to help.
Aimée has been painting custom animal portraits professionally since 1999. Her work has been seen in numerous publications, featured on national television and hangs in the collections of animal lovers all over the world, including best-selling authors, movie producers and celebrities.
When not in the studio, Aimée can be found reading large stacks of home decor magazines, indulging her Starbucks addiction, and greeting all the animals in the neighborhood on her walks down to the beach. She currently lives in southern Califorinia with her husband, Scott, and their cat Sesame. But is not so secretly hatching a plan to live part time in NYC…