Class helps artists capture fine points of pet portraits

When Georgia Lawson teaches a pet portrait workshop, she has her students start with the eyes.

With the enlarged photo of their chosen pet — sometimes their own, sometimes a friend’s or family member’s — on the table beside them, the students brush two dark, glossy circles onto the canvas.

“You want to have the soul there, so you can see what you’re painting,” Lawson says. If they add the eyes at the end, the eyes appear lifeless, without the sparkle the pet’s owner has come to know and love.

Then, they move onto the nose, working out from there. At Thursday’s daylong pet portrait workshop at City Lights Art Gallery in Henderson, five students worked with oil paints on subjects including a white terrier, a husky and a goat under Lawson’s guidance. After years of teaching painting classes throughout Las Vegas, pet portraits are now something of a specialty for the 75-year-old, who only seriously took up painting in the past 20 years.

YEAR AFTER YEAR

Lawson has taken life in stride. Though she grew up watching her mother paint and drawing horses, Lawson didn’t begin her own artistic career in earnest until her 33-year marriage ended in 1995. The divorce ultimately allowed her to discover her passion for painting.

“You know, life changes,” Lawson says. “I look at it this way: I think about every five years, I like to see a nice change in my life, or go forward to something else. I think that keeps you young. You never know what tomorrow brings you, so go forward and have fun with it.”

At the time, going forward meant moving to Corvallis, Oregon, where her best friend lived. Her first weekend there, she met a woman who reminded her of her mother and insisted that she take up painting. Lawson began taking classes from some highly regarded artists in the area, unbeknownst to her then, and for years used the seashore as her primary subject. Eventually, she began selling her work in shows.

Nearly nine years ago, Lawson moved from Oregon to Las Vegas to be closer to family. Soon after, she started teaching oil and watercolor classes at local art supply stores, community centers and studios. Animals were always one of her favorite subjects, and she began taking commissions for pet portraits. Though she doesn’t have the time or space to care for pets of her own, she’s had many animals over the years and now regularly pet-sits.

“I think people like to see their animals presented in an art form, more than a photo,” Lawson says.

PAINTING POOCHES

At the pet portrait workshops like Thursday’s, most of the students have painting experience. Lawson guides them through the steps, first enlarging a photo of their pet and then showing them how to transfer a blue and white outline of their image to the 12-by-12-inch canvas.

“Georgia shows you little ways to do things so that it turns out well,” says Libby Chan, the City Lights Art Gallery director and a student at the workshop. She painted her son’s husky.

After getting the eyes and nose in place, they fill in the face with layers and layers of oil paint. Lawson never uses black paint, even for animals with black fur, and instead uses indigo. “It’s so dark, but you can’t tell it’s not black. Normal black, when it dries, lays flat, where indigo stays alive, that’s the best I can explain it,” Lawson says. “Once they use it, they never use black again.”

Lucia Sullivan mainly paints landscapes, but joined the workshop to paint her husky-shepherd mix. “I’ve always enjoyed the way that Georgia paints because (the animals) look animated and just seem less realistic and more of a personality,” she says. “It’s just fun to do different things. It’s always good to keep up your skills, that’s what makes it fun.”

Behind the animal, they paint a solid background in a contrasting color — blue behind a dog with orange fur, for example. Around the face the students add some shading to create dimension and help the pet pop off the page.

When the oil paint has dried in about a week, each artist will go back in and add a few transparent wisps of paint for the whiskers.

The last step for today, though? Toasting a day well spent the best way Lawson knows how: with a glass of bubbly.

Read more from Sarah Corsa at reviewjournal.com. Contact her at scorsa@reviewjournal.com. Follow @sarahcorsa on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Entertainment
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Meadows School founding kindergarten teacher retires after 34 years at the school
Linda Verbon, founder of the The Meadows School's kindergarten program and the first faculty member hired at the school, retired in the spring after 34 years at The Meadows. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kids become firefighters at Fire Station 98 open house
Henderson residents wore fire hats, learned about CPR and met firefighters at the Fire Station 98 open house Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Marcus Villagran Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
People from all over the world attend RollerCon 2018
RollerCon 2018 is a five-day convention focused on the roller derby community and culture at Westgate in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like