Whether working with watercolor or pen and ink, I love capturing the essence of a beloved pet or a special place. Our most valuable possessions are our memories and relationships, and I love knowing that my artwork helps people celebrate both! Custom artwork makes a great gift for so many events — a new home, a birthday, graduation, wedding, anniversary, retirement, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day — the possibilities are endless. I offer a variety of sizes and styles and send progress photos throughout the creative process to involve the customer. I also provide a free high-resolution jpeg file of the finished artwork so that customers can purchase their own prints and merchandise! Below you'll see a summary of the process plus examples of the many unique portraits I've created. Click on the button above or message me under the "Contact Us" tab so we can discuss a project close to your heart; I'm happy to answer any questions you might have. Or if you're ready to schedule a phone call with me, just click on this calendar for available dates and times!
Watercolor on Aquabord, 8" x 8". Eva is a sweet German-Shepherd mix who came from an animal rescue in Texas all the way to Pennsylvania for an adoption event. My nephew Brian and his wife Rachel agreed to adopt her sight unseen, and she is the most loving dog in the world. Eva claims all pillows and blankets as her own to make little beds for herself… she knows she’s loved and her home is her safe haven! I surprised them with this portrait as a wedding gift and their happy, emotional reactions were priceless! This painting is available for prints and merchandise under the "Animals" tab.
"Receiving our dog’s portrait was the perfect gift! I would
definitely recommend commissioning one for the pet lovers in your life. Valerie
did a great job capturing our dog’s sweet temperament." ~ Rachel L.
it. You really captured her expression. Bravo! Thank you so much
for doing that. We were both thrilled and neither of us expected it! Made sure
to put it somewhere I’d see it every day and it makes me happy every time I do!" ~ Brian L.
Watercolor on Aquabord, 6" x 6". Finn is a sweet lab mix who was adopted at two years old… Katherine and her husband Peyton fell in love with his cute eyebrows, and the rest is history! Meeting new people and playing hide-and-seek are two of his favorite pastimes. This portrait was a birthday gift for Peyton, and at first Katherine chose a sweet head-on view of Finn for the painting. Then she found this photo that shows his goofy personality and had to use it. I love capturing those candid moments forever in watercolor! This painting is available for prints and merchandise under the "Animals" tab.
"I pursued this painting as a gift for my husband - he is best friends
with our dog! I had a great experience with Valerie discussing every detail of
the painting to make sure it was just right. My husband was thrilled and so
surprised when he got the painting. He has it in his office to look at
every day. It's even better in person than we could have imagined! I highly
recommend Valerie for a portrait of your pup!" ~ Katherine W.
PAPA AND FARAH
Watercolor on Aquabord, 24" x 18". Lisa and her husband got Farah (red Golden Retriever) from a farm in eastern Colorado and a few
years later decided to adopt Farah’s father (white Golden Retriever). They called him Papa, for two reasons: he was Farah’s father, but also he had
reminded them of Ernest Hemingway who people also called Papa. These two were playful and nurturing; Farah and Papa took to each other on
day one. They loved to romp in the meadows of Crested Butte, Colorado, so I put together a layout that shows them in their happy place! This painting is available for prints and merchandise under the "Animals" tab.
"Valerie is an amazing artist!
She puts extraordinary care into each painting. Her attention to detail, color,
lighting and composition is stellar! This is my second portrait and we are
so thrilled how both paintings captured the essence and expressions of our
dogs. Valerie’s process of sending updates and feedback is so fun. You get to
see the painting transform. She’s a delight to work with."
~ Lisa S.
Watercolor on Aquabord, 8" x 10". Small but mighty... Reeko was a Yorkie with a big personality and a devilish grin! He was also a wonderful, loving ball of fluff and very protective companion for his small size. As soon as Donna got him at a year old, it was "Reeko's world" from that day on! This painting is available for prints and merchandise under the "Animals" tab.
"Valerie Larson is not only my fellow high
school alum and friend, but above all, an extremely talented artist. I
commissioned Valerie to do a portrait of my fur nephew, Veeno, as a present for
my brother’s birthday with future plans to commission a portrait of Veeno and
my furbaby, Reeko, together. However, time waits for no one. Valerie did
a memorial portrait of Reeko, and I am overjoyed with the finished product. His
personality and his very essence is captured in each brush stroke! I highly
recommend Valerie for your artistic needs. She is an artist G.O.A.T. (Greatest
of All Time)!" ~ Donna W.
Watercolor on Aquabord, 8" x 8". Cal was an Australian shepherd-mix rescue, a fun-loving boy with doting parents. He had just passed, and Kate commissioned this portrait for his family as a sweet reminder of their happy years together. This painting is available for prints and merchandise under the "Animals" tab.
"Valerie was great to work with. She was extremely communicative
and compassionate, and made sure to update at every stage for
realistic approvals of the "subject". This was commissioned as a
gift for a dear friend who had lost her pup. Valerie worked with me to compile
the ideal setting and representation of Cal and made suggestions along the way
when I was unsure. When this was gifted to the recipient there were tears of
joy at how beautiful and real the memory of Cal had been captured." ~ Kate L.
Watercolor on Aquabord, 16" x 20". This sweet brown-eyed girl was rescued as a puppy from under a trailer of a backyard hunting dog breeder. She's a talkative and loyal Walker hound mix, saving her family from the dangers of delivery trucks and people daily! This painting is available for prints and merchandise under the "Animals" tab.
"We were so pleased to be able to commission a
custom pet portrait of Kenzie. Valerie was very helpful and patient when
assisting us in choosing a photo (or combination) that would yield the desired
result. Her questions helped me clarify what we wanted and pictures of each
stage were so beneficial to help me confidently proceed and choose details like
her collar/tag and the background. The pictures helped and were well
taken, yet they didn't show the beauty of the actual portrait! Valerie
even asked for a picture of our walls to guide her in choosing the preferred
blue to include in the shaded background. It looks so great in our front
hallway and I smile each time I see it." ~ Kathleen S.
Watercolor on Aquabord, 8" x 10". An anniversary gift for the customer's husband. This happy Corgi cannot take a bad photo... in every single reference photo Kayla shared with me he's wearing a big, beautiful smile! Despite the Texas heat, Archie loves to go hiking with his family. This lake, surrounded by beautiful cacti and succulents, is a favorite spot, so it was important to include it in the portrait. This painting is available for prints and merchandise under the "Animals" tab.
"Mrs. Larson is ALWAYS a joy to talk to! She was extremely understanding
of what I wanted done and managed to do even better than I imagined! I really
appreciated the progress photos, she captured the famous Corgi smile
perfectly. I will definitely be reaching out to her for future pet portraits!" ~ Kayla S.
Watercolor on Aquabord, 5" x 7". This sweet girl recently passed and is the bestieof Will, the beagle directly below her on this page. Deby loved the painting of Will that she commissioned as a gift so she decided to have me paint her own dogs, past and present! I enjoyed painting Madison's soulful eyes and her bright-blue, "noodly" chenille scarf, a special gift from Deby's mom that needed to be included. It complements Madison's orange coat beautifully! This painting is available for prints and merchandise under the "Animals" tab.
"Valerie Larson is such a beautiful gift. I originally
commissioned her to make a painting for my friend who lost her beagle, Will,
last year. Val did such a wonderful job on the piece that I asked her to
make a painting of my beloved Madison, who I also lost shortly before Will went
to the Rainbow Bridge. She would do a small portion of the picture and
check in with me to see if she was headed in the right direction. I could
make any changes as she was going along. Just such a pleasant experience
working with Val. So much so that I am having her paint my previous two dogs
as well. Her artwork is so lifelike it is uncanny. Such detail is
taken in every aspect of the process. I can’t wait to work with her again
soon!!" ~ Deby B.
Watercolor on Aquabord, 5" x 7". A gift for the customer's dear friend who had recently lost her beloved beagle. Will lit up the room with his smiles and was a neighborhood favorite, loved by all he met; he was a snappy dresser, too! This painting is available for prints and merchandise under the "Animals" tab.
"I commissioned Valerie to make a special piece of art for my bestie, Mona, of her
beloved beagle, Will. What a delight it was to work with Valerie. She captured
Will so PAWfectly. Valerie would send me an email as each phase was completed.
I would approve or ask to tweak something as the progress of the painting
went along. Always giving great suggestions as to how to make this a
PAWsome gift for my friend, Mona, and her husband, Marty. To say they
were delighted is an understatement. Mona and Marty told me
it was the BEST PRESENT they have ever received. Thank you, Val, for
making ME look good. Can’t wait for you to do MY FURbabies next. Five stars and MORE!! If you want a Beautiful PAWtrait of
your FUR baby… Valerie is the ONE to call!!" ~ Deby B.
"This was a complete surprise as Deby and I both lost our babies, Madison
and Will; both of us were heartbroken. As a surprise for me and my husband,
Deby commissioned Valerie, who created a masterpiece of my sweet Will and truly
captured our boy!" ~ Mona P.
Watercolor on Aquabord, 10" x 7". A Christmas gift for the customer's son and his family. We waited for some landscaping to be fixed so that I could see the sunroom on the right and get the photos I needed... sometimes it takes time and patience to get the best view possible!
"We recently tasked Valerie with doing a custom portrait of our son’s
home as a present. She subsequently asked for several photos of it from
which to work. The experience exceeded our expectations and she
repeatedly contacted us as the painting progressed for feedback to ensure she
was producing exactly what we desired, down to the tiniest details. She
did this despite the fact that we had total confidence in her ability to
produce a painting which reflected their new home. We were not
disappointed, and they love the painting as much as we do. It totally
reflects all aspects of the home we wanted captured. Thank you, Val!"
~ Gary & Missy O.
Watercolor on Aquabord, 8" x 8". A gift for the customer's dear friend who had lost her beloved dog and had just gotten Duncan, a sweet yorkie-poo puppy who lights up her life. This little guy is a bundle of energy, so it was difficult to find a photo where he was sitting still... I was afraid I'd end up with a very impressionistic, blurry painting! This painting is available for prints and merchandise under the "Animals" tab.
"Valerie was absolutely awesome throughout the
process of painting Duncan. She sent us progress pictures for approval along
the way and she captured Duncan's essence totally. Highly recommend Valerie for
animal portraits. They make great gifts! Our portrait turned out excellent.
Prices are also very reasonable."
~ Gabi Q.
Mike and Luke
Watercolor on Aquabord, 11" x 14". A Christmas gift for the customer's husband. Mike (lying down) passed a few years ago, and she wanted a portrait that would illustrate how inseparable Mike and Luke were. Mike was the leader, so I came up with a layout from several different photos that would convey his quiet, strong presence. Two sweet, gentle giants with a beautiful bond! This painting is available for prints and merchandise under the "Animals" tab.
"Working with Valerie was a pleasure from start to finish. I loved being
part of the entire process and seeing the painting come to life in stages. Not
only is Valerie an incredibly talented, gifted artist, she is a wonderful person.
Every time I look at 'Mike and Luke' I see our sweet boys and am reminded of a
~ Shelly R.
Watercolor on Aquabord, 8" x 8". This sweet, shy girl is a rescue and is learning to love and trust again... her eyes say it all. The portrait was a Christmas gift for the customer's husband, and he was over the moon about it! They believe Luna is a corgi/Shepherd mix, hence the large ears. They always call her "bat dog" when they see the shadow of her ears, so I thought the shadow would be a fun detail to include in the portrait!
"Working with Valerie has been such a pleasure. She
is "spot on" with her instincts when it comes to capturing my dog's
looks and personality. Valerie has amazing talent and awesome customer service
skills. She was very responsive when I made suggestions and recommendations.
Her progress photos were a great way for me to see how the picture was
evolving. It was very exciting for me to receive a message saying there was
another photo to view. I enjoyed the anticipation and the end product proved to
be just what I wanted. She is a credit to her craft! I will happily recommend
her to my friends and family. " ~ Karen T.
Watercolor on Aquabord, 8" x 8". A Christmas gift for the customer's niece and husband. Except for her gold tag and brown eyes, it's a study in black and white and all of the nuances to be found in between. The photo chosen for the portrait captures her personality to a tee!
"Valerie, I had so much fun learning about the process involved in
the pet portrait of Olive! The painting was a very special
Christmas/housewarming gift for my niece and her husband. Olive is their pride
and joy. From start to finish, the whole project was fascinating and fun. I
really appreciated the time you took to know Olive's personality at the start
of the project. The most careful attention to every detail down to her
tiniest little whisker came out perfectly.
My niece and her husband love it and they are now part of your
growing number of fans! You brought them so much happiness. They are
both so impressed with your work, Valerie. The painting is so full of
love, artistic detail and incredible talent! I also love that your business supports charities that help pets
find loving homes. I'm a fan of the arts and I enjoy supporting local small
businesses. Thanks so much! I'm already looking forward to the next pet
portrait of Olive's BFF, Edgar." ~ Lora O.
"We recently received a watercolor painting of our dog as a gift and it’s
stunning! It’s incredible how much it looks like our pup, it couldn’t be any
other dog! Valerie did a phenomenal job learning each aspect of our dog and
we’ll cherish this painting forever!" ~ Lexie B.
Paco and bella
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord, 8" x 8". These adorable chihuahuas are father and daughter and inseparable in life. Personal details include their colorful collars and favorite treats on the blanket! This commission was a Christmas gift for the customer's husband, and the leather sofa in the painting makes a stylish backdrop for hanging in his office!
"I so much enjoyed working
with Valerie as she created the perfect painting of our Paco and Bella. She
kept in touch and provided progress photos along the way, asking for feedback, and this was a fun way to be involved in the process. I highly recommend
Valerie to anyone wanting a painting of their pet." ~ Sherry S.
Watercolor on Aquabord, 11" x 14". A birthday commission for the customer's husband, this cozy Michigan lakehouse has been in her husband's family for generations and holds many special vacation memories. The home is captured at dusk, reminding the owners of the many wonderful dinners they've enjoyed on the deck over the years with family and friends!
"Working with Valerie on this special project was
terrific. This was a birthday surprise for my husband so it required top-secret
communications and stealth!
Valerie’s attention to detail, desire to capture
my vision and tremendous artistic skill have resulted in a cherished keepsake
for my family.
Valerie can be trusted with the images that mean
the most to you." ~ Chris B.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord, 8" x 10". Teddy had just passed away, and the portrait was a happy reminder for the customer and her family of all the love and smiles they shared with him. I combined four different photographs to create a scene showing Teddy's idyllic life, riding in a car on a snowy day and feeling the snowflakes on his nose.
"It was such a great experience
from start to finish. Valerie helped me figure out my vision for Teddy's
memorial portrait and kept me informed and a part of the decision process the
entire time. A few progress photos, texts, emails, laughs, and tears later, she
produced this wonderful lifelike portrait of my sweet boy. She captured his
soulful eyes and beautiful smile in his dream situation, a car ride in the
snow. If you are looking for a great artist to work with to make your vision a
reality, look no further. Thank you, Valerie!" ~ Michelle J.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord, 8" x 10". Veeno has a golden coat and a heart to match... that eager smile says it all! This was a special birthday commission for the customer's brother, and he was totally surprised and thrilled!
"What can I say except that
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pet portrait of my fur nephew Veeno that I
commissioned as a present for my brother's birthday. Val captured
Veeno to a "tee", his personality displayed on canvas! Everyone that
sees the portrait raves about the portrait and requests information about the
artist. The commissioning process with Valerie Larson Art & Design is very
smooth. Valerie is very communicative throughout the entire process. Viewing
the process photos increased my anticipation of the final product. The
look on my brother's face when he opened his present was EPIC! Valerie Larson Art & Design is the BEST!" ~ Donna W.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord, 8" x 8". Sweet, lovable Mr. Rhett had just passed and the customer wanted to honor her friend's dog in a lasting way; he was a joy to the customer and her kids, too. Mr. Rhett adored playing with his pink spikey ball and had a snazzy polka-dot collar, so it was important to include these personal details in the portrait!
"Valerie did such a lovely job on the portrait of
our dear friend Mr. Rhett! It was a very emotional moment when we presented it
to his family. Valerie made the process easy to understand with pictures of
different options and pricing before the project started. I felt very included
in every detail with the various progress photos along the way. She even took
the extra time to paint a tissue paper overlay so I could visually decide
between 2 different backgrounds. Overall, Valerie was amazing to work with! She
put so much love and care into this artwork and finished our project in great
timing! We are so very pleased with the finished product and so is the family
that we gifted it to. Thank you so much, Valerie!" ~ Blakely S.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord, 11" x 14". Dixie is a beloved Schnoodle who had just passed away when I started working with her family on this commission. Michele chose this photo of Dixie because it was her favorite place in the whole world: sitting in their yard and enjoying the ever-present breezes that would come her way.
"In June, we lost our beloved Schnoodle, Dixie.
She was with us for 16-1/2 years. Losing her was devastating as any animal
lover knows. I knew Valerie and watched her post on social sites and loved
what I saw. I knew she would do an exceptional job, but we were blown away by
the final product. Valerie worked with me throughout the process and if I
questioned her color, she immediately revised it. Valerie captured our sweet
Dixie’s eyes and color. Dixie has a special spot on the wall, so we see her
little self, every day.” ~ Michele M.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. Our daughter lived with this generous family when she moved to Knoxville, Tennessee and couldn't find a rental for a few months. She commissioned a portrait of their home for them, and I can't think of a more thoughtful thank-you gift for their love and support!
"Receiving a portrait watercolor of our current house was such a precious
gift. Over the years, I have had watercolors done of our previous homes by
a family member that hang in our entryway. Valerie was able to complete our
most recent home and adhere to the style, color and framing to match my other
portraits. A unique feature of my particular piece is that it includes
updates to the front of the home that have yet to be completed! I planned
for a green front door and just had a retaining wall built. I had a small
sketch with the shrubs and plants that have yet to be planted, and Valerie
was able to take that and include all of it beautifully! This is a
testament to how much time and thoughtfulness goes into each piece
Valerie creates. The detailed card showing the process of creating my
artwork was fascinating! I taped it to the back of the frame, in order to share
the story of the art process making this particular artwork priceless!" ~ Pamela C.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. Biscuit the puggle is so cool that she was wearing sunglasses as she posed on the chaise... I had to remove them for the portrait! I was lucky enough to meet Biscuit right before she passed away. When I started talking to Kim about her portrait I said we could wait if it was too hard for her, but she said it was actually comforting to talk on the phone with me about everything she loves and misses about Biscuit.
"Working with Valerie at a very sensitive time was
a delight! I looked forward to seeing the artwork each day! Valerie did not
disappoint! I knew before Biscuit passed away that I would have this artwork
completed and the whole process was very cathartic for me. I feel at peace when
I look at it! Thank you, Valerie!
I love it! I feel like I should be able to pet her and get some kisses!
I have enjoyed “working” on this with you. I put that in quotes because I
didn’t do much but give you praise. I feel like Biscuit is here beside me! All the personal touches are
wonderful. I love the note and everything down to making the bow on the paper!
I’ve missed looking for a late-night email! ” ~ Kim D.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. Jack is a lovable labradoodle who can't hold his licker! This portrait was a graduation gift for the customer’s fiancé. At first she didn’t want to show Jack’s tongue hanging out, but it became apparent that it’s a typical look for him and painting him any other way just wouldn’t be natural!
"I cannot say enough great things about this experience. The ease of
the process greatly exceeded my expectations. Valerie is so passionate
about making sure that her work reflects your vision and subject perfectly.
Receiving process pictures was such a wonderful surprise each time and created
such great anticipation for the final product. " ~ Maeci U.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. My friend told me Siro doesn't sit well for portraits, but he stole my heart with his soulful eyes in this snapshot. Even though there's some distortion in this view, she picked it for its fun, quirky perspective; she knew it would be her husband's favorite. He loved his birthday gift and is hanging the portrait in his office so he'll always have his beloved boy with him!
"I commissioned a painting of our dog Siro as a
birthday gift for my husband. We were both blown away by the amazing
capture of his face. The attention to detail and of light and shadow
really brought our Siro to life. Working with Valerie was a fun and enjoyable process.
In fact, we plan to commission another. Valerie is an incredible
artist!” ~ Lisa S.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. This sweet little guy is a rescue, and the owner contacted me about doing a portrait because she could never find renderings that look exactly like him. Zeus loves hanging out in the back yard, and he definitely has a regal air about him as he surveys his domain!
with Valerie to create a portrait of Zeus was a pleasure from start to
finish. She was thorough in getting all the details before she started,
and her attention to all the nuances of Zeus' character -- which she captured
beautifully -- showed her care for her subjects and dedication to her
art. I loved the experience of seeing the progress, and I
appreciated all the touches -- such as the cute design on the craft paper
wrapping and the card that accompanied the final artwork that showed
the stages of the portrait as it evolved. Valerie gave us a wonderful
gift to cherish." ~ Pearson B.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. Bandon’s happy place is basking in the sun on the stone patio outside his owner's home office. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to capture the silky sheen of his black fur in the bright sunlight, especially on his smiley face. The white vinca flowers weren’t blooming in the reference photo, so the customer asked if we could add some in. Sure - I love artistic license! She had been wanting a portrait done of her beloved cocker spaniel for a long time but didn’t know if it was affordable. I showed her that it was because I offer a variety of sizes and styles to work with all types of budgets!
takes her work seriously and checks in with her clients throughout the process
to ensure they are happy with the progress. Her communication is
outstanding. The painting of my dog came out beautiful!” ~ Jane C.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. The customer had this portrait created as a special birthday surprise for a dear family member. Daisy is her owner's beloved sidekick and accompanies her everywhere; this is a typical look and pose as she sits perched on her owner's lap!
was a pleasure working with Val. Her communication was wonderful and the
progress photos were so helpful. She really captures your pet; she does a
beautiful job. I am very happy and excited with the outcome — it met my
expectations. I loved working on this project with her and being able to give
my input with
the progress photos; I felt like I was painting it, too. She is very easy to
work with. She works with you on colors. She is in constant communication with you
to see how she is doing and wants your input. She is very talented and gives your
project devotion and love. I was so excited for my cousin's mother to receive her
gift. Val’s artwork is very reasonably priced.
Thank you so much,
Val, I am so happy to see the finished project, but I was also sad it was coming
to an end." ~ Suzy R.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. A commission for a special high-school friend. Carly is two years old now, but this photo of her as a puppy is a favorite. I love the caramel-colored drippingson her fur from head to toe. Carly's sweet, loving eyes match her personality, and I can't wait to paint her again in her "teen-age" years!
“Exceeded expectations! I have admired
Valerie's work from afar for many years. I had no idea how to commission a
piece. I wasn't sure I could afford it. Finally, I just broke
down and asked! Valerie was happy to answer
all of my many questions with patience and professionalism. She offered many
options based on my feedback. The project was a combination of my vision and
her years of experience and talent. She involved me in the process every step
of the way. Carly Carmel is a very
special pet. The depiction of her is spot on. I have enjoyed the process so much that
I am considering commissioning a series throughout her life! I recommend making this
as a gift to yourself or to anyone you love. The process is exciting and
fun. The result is personal and will be treasured for a lifetime! ”
~ Eileen S.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. Oh Henry! You are sweeter than any candy bar and oh-so dapper in your striped tie! A dear high-school friend commissioned this painting as a Christmas gift for her brother and his wife. They recently had a baby and she was concerned that Henry is feeling second-best these days. What better way to confirm his status in the family than with a special portrait? Something tells me Henry is feeling very loved… he even has his own Instagram account!
"This artwork was a commissioned gift that was an exceptional
likeness to our dog. He was beautifully portrayed, and the painting has
taken a very prominent place in our home. We would not hesitate to
commission additional art from Valerie in the future."
~ Demetrios O.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. Love those eyes… those light-green, piercing, mood-ring eyes! Marty loves lounging on the sunny window sill with his owner’s favorite books. I had the pleasure of doing this commission for a close friend of our son’s as a Christmas gift for her fiancé... I love surprises!
“I have known Ms. Val for a long time, and during
that time she has proved to be a wonderful mom, an absolute joy of a person,
and an extraordinarily gifted artist. Marty has an undeniably distinct personality that shines through his sweet
face and bright eyes. Val captured him perfectly. And I mean *perfectly.* (Dare
I say... purr-fectly?!) She listened to every comment and inquired about my
preferences at every stage of the process. And thanks to her diligence, the
piece was a huge hit. My partner absolutely loved it—so much so that he teared
up upon opening it Christmas morning. A huge thank you to the inimitable Ms.
Val for making it possible. There's no one I'd rather entrust with capturing
our dearly beloved Marty.”
~ Hayley L.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. Portrait of a sweet puppy who only knew life chained in a yard. She found her forever family, and I love her spunk and zest for life... her smile says it all!
" We like to walk her in the woods behind our house, so I asked Valerie to paint
Fiona in her favorite spot, on the top of a log surveying her new domain, being
happy and free. Valerie did a wonderful job - she went out of her way to
ask about Fiona beforehand and what we wanted to show in the painting.
She had me send her many photos and created a painting that combined some of
the best ones to give a true sense of Fiona's personality. She sent me
progress reports along the way and asked my preferences for little details that
I wouldn't have thought of myself, such as setting, background colors, exactly
how/where Fiona has patches of white, positioning, etc. Thanks again to Valerie for
creating a piece of artwork we will treasure forever!
~ Shana G.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. Portrait of my niece's spunky, energetic Yorkshire terrier. I loved trying to capture his expression and studying his coat of many colors. If you've ever been around Yorkies you know how lively and loving they can be!
“I asked Valerie to paint a portrait of our Yorkie, Monty, as a
Christmas surprise for my husband. She worked off of a favorite photo we have
of Monty that I provided. We are thrilled with the final product! She captured
Monty’s sweet expression perfectly and I love how detailed the many textures
and colors of his fur are. Valerie worked with me every step of the way,
providing several progress photos and getting my feedback to ensure I loved the
painting as it was created. It was fun to be a part of the creative process and
we know the portrait will hold a special place in our home for years to come!”
~ Meredith V.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. Portrait of a sweet rescue dog from Puerto Rico, named for her Nilla Wafer markings! I love her soulful eyes, and I'm so glad she found her happy home. She had a rough life in Puerto Rico, and the owner wanted all of her personality reflected in the painting, including the nick in her left ear. It’s those little details that make our beloved pets perfect in our eyes!
"It has everything I
envisioned and more — captured her true eyes in
the optimal light not reflected in the photo, captured one of her
"Nilla" markings and perfectly reflected her ear and her personality — all with detail I never knew could exist in watercolor. When I look at her portrait, it's my favorite image ever captured of her (and I'm
fairly certain I have over 1,000). I appreciate your
guiding me through this so you were picking up on details that I'd like. You
captured all of them and more. Thanks a million!"
~ Travis E.
Watercolor on canvas. Portrait of a couple's lovely Florida home, protected by a beautiful old tree that I'd love to hug!
“I love all of the time Valerie took to truly
hear what I felt about my home. Through her creative eye she shared her
thoughts regarding best time of day photos and views of the home. Your gift,
Valerie, of seeing the world and all of the beauty is shared with your
customers. I also love that you show the customer the work
in progress. Your work brings me so much happiness! You brought our home to life. Thank you.”
~ Megan M.
"I do believe a home has a soul and it looks like she
~ Jen B.
Buddy and Abbott
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. Pet portrait to honor a
dear friend's sweet dogs, past and present. I loved trying to capture their gentle souls in my artwork.
adore the book you sent me with the illustrations of your pup, and the
beautiful watercolor portrait you did of our pups!
watercolors have a beautiful ethereal quality to them, and they are comforting." ~ Jen and Ramin F.
Gouache on canvas. A memorable campus location for a couple who attended the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. A surprise Christmas gift from a husband to his wife.
Watercolor on paper. Portrait of my in-laws' charming home in Vienna, Virginia. This view brings back wonderful memories of family visits, grandchildren playing in the front yard, and watching the next generation grow up.
Home, Sweet San Francisco Home
Pen and ink on paper. Drawing of a couple's beautiful home nestled in the hills of Mill Valley, given as a Christmas gift by a wife to her husband.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. Levi is a good-looking cat with class... he likes to lounge in front of the family's priceless Bill Blass fashion sketches! A surprise birthday gift from a husband to his wife.
"This is my Levi, the best, most loving cat we’ve
ever had. I sought out a black cat to rescue as they are often overlooked. He
is amazing and Valerie has captured his beauty! Thank you, Valerie, for giving
us a gift that will last forever!" ~ Louise T.
Lacey on the Lake
Watercolor on Aquabord. A beloved dog chillin' at her family's lake house in Wisconsin. A special retreat for a large extended family, it's a reminder of happy times spanning three generations.
Modern Maryland Home
Pen and ink on paper. Portrait of a beautiful modern home in Potomac, Maryland, commissioned by the owners. The lush greenery creates a wonderful dappled-light effect on the mid-century architecture. I enjoy the challenge of creating depth with different densities and types of pen strokes.
Watercolor pencils on Aquabord. I was working from about 15 reference photos since the cats were not in any photos together, and I had to place them realistically in the owner’s sunroom where they like to hang out. I got to meet two of the cats (one was too shy)... Buster, Buddy, and Blacky will always have a special place in my heart!
Pen and ink with watercolor overlay on paper. Portrait of a family's cat, named after Earvin "Magic" Johnson (the cat was a gift for a 32nd birthday, and Magic's jersey number was 32). I enjoyed creating the patterns on the sofa; the busy background was a nice contrast to Earvin's solid fur coat.
Watercolor on paper. A portrait for my in-laws of one of the first homes they lived in after moving from California to Virginia in the 1970s. This is where their kids spent their formative years... lots of good memories wrapped up in this home.
Oil pastel on canvas board. Our own beloved bichon-poodle mix who is still going strong at 16 years old. I'm not sure what we'd do without his young attitude and unconditional love!
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