Capturing Mabel’s Joyful Personality
An unforgettable birthday gift
Little Mabel was only a puppy when I was asked to draw her portrait. Mabel had been a recent addition to her family, and she’d immediately captured their hearts.
My clients Tracy and Stephan were a couple from nearby Launceston in Cornwall. They’d seen my portraits on Instagram and knew they had to have one of Mabel. With Tracy’s 50th birthday on the horizon it was the perfect excuse!
Finished portrait of Mabel with some close ups showing the intricate detailing.
Tracy and Stephan brought Mabel around to my house so that I could meet her before drawing her portrait. They pulled up in their van, opened the door, and there trembling with excitement, was the cutest, most eager bundle of fluff you’ll ever meet.
As soon as her crate was opened, she was off. An unguided missile, exploring the garden top to bottom with such eagerness that her bottom wiggled with every tail wag. Any my goodness, could she jump! Despite being a very small cocker spaniel, she could leap 5-foot-high, right into Stephan’s arms for a big bear hug.
Part of Mabel’s visit was for me to get some photographs from which I could draw her portrait. I thought this could be a challenge, seeing how much energy Mabel had. I needn’t have worried. A few tasty treats had her sitting so obediently, I couldn’t believe my eyes. She had the sweetest quiver of excitement, as she focused every bit of her attention on staying still for that treat.
Mabel posing for her photoshoot
Capturing Mabel’s sweetness and joy
It was clear from meeting Mabel that she already had a fantastic connection with Tracy and Stephan. Her eagerness to please, and joyful personality, were really important factors to get across in her portrait.
We chose a pose where she sat sweetly looking up at her owners, with a beautiful smile and glint in her eyes. It perfectly captured her fluffy ears, and little heart shaped marking on her chest. It also showed off the cute tag on her collar.
Tracy and Stephan opted for my largest size. They knew it would hang in their living room, and they wanted their portrait to be a visually stunning centre piece, that would radiate Mabel’s cheerful personality.
We chose a light blue background for her portrait, to reflect Mabel’s love of being outdoors exploring.
I asked Tracy and Stephan if they’d like to see progress photos of Mabel’s portrait coming together. Tracy was keen that she wanted that magical moment of unwrapping it and seeing it for the first time on her special day. And so, I made sure to keep everything under wraps in the lead up to Tracy’s birthday.
Naomi drawing Mabel's portrait
Framing Mabel’s portrait
Tracy and Stephan opted for me to get their portrait professionally framed for them. I’d discussed with Tracy and Stephan their preference for frame style and colours. I used this knowledge, together with the framer’s expertise, to choose a suitable frame and mount that complimented Mabel’s portrait perfectly.
Naomi with Mabel's framed portrait
The perfect birthday gift
On Tracy’s birthday, I received a very excited call from her, saying how happy and thrilled she was to receive Mabel’s portrait. It was everything they’d hoped for and more. They were both absolutely over the moon with it and couldn’t believe how lifelike it was.
Mabel's portrait hanging proudly in the family home
“I commissioned a portrait of our working cocker spaniel Mabel for my wife's 50th birthday present. We were able to have some professional photographs taken by Naomi. Every step of the way Naomi kept me up to date with her progress. The finished portrait is mind blowing, it has more detail than the photo. Mabel looks alive on the canvas. Such talent, what a gifted young lady. I asked Naomi to choose the borders and frame - I am so pleased I did, her choice was amazing. The final portrait in its frame is a sight to behold. I would urge anyone reading this to speak to Naomi and listen to her suggestions as the finished product is an outstanding portrait in a beautiful frame which will keep you smiling for ever. Thank you so much Naomi.” - Stephan Espin
Drawing those intricate details on Mabel's portrait