Friday, September 30, 2011

Applause! Keepsake Portraits by Fran

Is that gorgeous? Now, take a look at this:

I just want to reach into the computer and pet them both. These beautiful pups are helping me launch a new feature on the CI blog: Applause!  It's the perfect way for me to introduce my amazing, good, creative friends to my other amazing, good, creative friends ...

Fran from Keepsake Portraits agreed to answer a few questions as my Applause! guinea pig. (Hey, she draws pets. Give me a break here!)

You built a career as a graphic designer at Hallmark and then began doing the portraits after you retired. When -- or how -- did you know that you were an artist and that your art was more than a hobby?
From the time that I was a very young child I loved to draw. My mom and dad owned a clothing store in St. Louis and I would sit in the back room and draw on the white cardboard that was taken out of the men's dress shirts. Anything I could find became my canvas. By junior high I began winning awards in fairs and through school activities. Of course, that pushed me to believe in myself and think seriously about art as a career by high school. 

When people tell you -- and I know they do -- "I can't draw anything -- not even a straight line!", what do you say to them?
When people discuss my paintings and say, "I can't draw a stick figure, you're amazing!",  I always remind them that there are many things I do very poorly. Especially math! That was truly a struggle in school. My talent just happens to be more visual. Thank goodness my husband does the bills!

Why do you like drawing pets?
When I early retired, after 23 years, from Hallmark as a Graphic Designer I decided to get a dog.  Always wanted a pet, but did not want one until I had more free time. Once our Golden Retriever, "Sadie" became a part of our lives, I started sketching her and received interest from friends and family who wanted me to draw their pets. The more I created the more I realized I could turn this into a small business. This became the beginning of "Keepsake Portraits by Fran." 

I have now completed over 300 portraits and am fulfilling my passion for art daily. What a blessing!  I also love going to people's homes, if they do not have a favorite snapshot of their pet, and photograph them and get to know their personality(s). This is part of the fee because it is important for me to get exactly what the client wants. I also have begun painting people as well.  Love doing both, and as you see in my sample below, many times pets and people together.

I love the way Fran talks about drawing on the white cardboard, turning anything she could find into a canvas. Art is where we find it.

Holiday Shopping Tip! If you'd like a portrait by Fran as a holiday gift, now is the time to commission it. Take a look at her gorgeous portfolio and click on the "email me" button at the bottom of the page if you're interested. Or, here's an idea: Send that link to someone else and suggest they commission a portrait for you!

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