February 17, 2011

Lifelike Pet Portraits Artist Janine Kyarsgaard

Janine Kyarsgaard Pet Portrait Artist

Self Portrait
Janine Kyarsgaard is a lifelike pet portrait artist. She lives in Blaine MN, with her husband and “Kids” Tuff the Pug and Luna the cat. Her pet portrait work is “Realism, but I don’t worry about drawing or painting each and every hair. I enjoy using implied detail as much as carefully rendered detail to capture the true character an expression.” 
Janine’s passion is in her “Family genes” so to speak, as her Dad and Aunt on her mother’s side are/were both talented in visual arts. “I am formally trained in illustration, worked in the field briefly, and then stopped making art when “Real life” got in the way. After a 5 year dry spell the urge to create overtook me, so here I am making art again with the ultimate goal of becoming a full-time professional artist.”
Janine draws her inspiration from her own pets. She says; “They have such great personalities that I love to capture.  They can be such natural posers, however many times by the time I grabbed the camera they move! I am also inspired by everyday objects, the way the light will hit a plant, or silverware on a counter… just about anything can be inspiring if we take time to really look at it.”
Janine earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Minneapolis College of Art & Design.  She started with pastel far earlier than that, maybe around age 12 or 13. “My Dad helped me a lot; I remember him telling me some people had trouble drawing hands, or were afraid to draw them and I should look at my own hands for reference. Mostly it is practice, practice, practices. Her favorite animals to draw are “Lots of dogs and cats of course. Horses, wolves and big cats are full of beauty and majesty, but I often find that when I’m looking for something to draw I’ll choose a bird.”
How do you come up with your ideas?  When I don’t have a commission to work on, I like to look for images at the Wet Canvas Image Library http://wetcanvas.com/RefLib/.  It’s an amazing resource for artists!  I also keep a list of ideas to work on when I have time, so I might refer to that when I’m looking for a project.  I enjoy puns, so those are another source for ideas, for example Pugsy Siegel http://4pawsterity.com/gallery/item/352/asInline and Canine Miranda http://4pawsterity.com/gallery/item/353/asInline
What skills do you find essential in your work? “Since I do portrait commissions, communication is the key. I need to be available to my clients, clear expectations- theirs and mine and open and accommodating to their wants and idea.”
How often do you work? “I make a concerted effort to work every day. Even if I don’t have a portrait on my easel, I work on pieces for my gallery and prints. Or even just painting exercises to learn new media and still keep my skills nimble…I’ve started a daily artwork blog to keep me accountable to create every day, even it it’s just a quick sketch.”
Where are you currently showing your art pieces? “I have been included in the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts exhibition in 2010, otherwise my work is primarily commissioned work in private collections. I have been researching juried art shows in a variety of galleries across the country. Stay tuned!”

Are you currently holding workshops or art classes? “I am not. Teaching does not come naturally or easily to me, so even though that is common activity for artists to supplement their income, I don’t see it on the horizon for me.”
Who is your favorite artist? “That’s difficult, there are and were so many… Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Degas, Escher,  Frazetta … just for starters.”

What is the most significant decision you ever made? “It’s more like a decision I didn’t make: I didn’t do nearly enough to promote myself just after college.  I ended up with my eggs in one basket, so when work dried up in one area I wasn’t prepared and I ended up seeking out “day jobs.”  If I had stuck with it, I may have been making art as a career for years already!  I try not to think about that with regret, though, since that’s not very useful.  Instead I use it as a reason to keep working at it now.
What is your favorite season in Minnesota and why? “Autumn.  My ideal weather is about 60 degrees and rainy, and I love going for a walk on a rainy fall day, when the brightest foliage seems to glow through the gray and damp.  The rain makes everything smell fresh and earthy!”

If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it? “Invest wisely to life off it, and spend my time making art and enjoying time with friends and family.  Any profit made from my work at that point would be donated to animal causes with maybe a little kept for “fun money.”
What makes you laugh the most? “I like British comedy, plus parodies and spoofs.  I also enjoy sort of dark or twisted comedy.  In general I try not to take life too seriously.”
What words of advice would you have for someone starting out?
Always keep in mind your target clients and ways to show them your work.  I’ve always believed in the saying “Luck is being prepared for opportunity;” act as if your next big client is just around the corner.  Most important is probably to be persistent and patient.”
Janine creates truly wonderful and thoughtful gifts for any occasion or simply to remember a loyal companion. Please visit her website at www.4pawsterity.com

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