The eyes are the window to the soul so the saying goes and the same applies to pets, according to artist Jill Myers.
The GemLife Bribie Island resident has been drawing portraits of animals in pencil and charcoal for many years and says pet portraits are something she loves doing, especially eyes.
“The eyes are the biggest and most powerful part of the portrait. They mirror the individual pet and tell a story. It’s important to capture that spirit and individuality in the artwork because that’s what makes it so special,” said Jill.
The artist, who has an eye for detail, has produced many paintings in the classical realism style, as well as many pencil and charcoal portraits of people and animals, but says pets have always been one of her favourite subjects.
Asked if it was difficult to draw pets Jill said: “It’s not hard but pets can’t sit still for too long, so I take a lot of photos to get the correct lighting and then choose the best one and go from there. I put in a lot of detail, and it usually takes about two weeks to complete.”
She said having a bit of a play with dogs and cats before starting work on the portraits also helps to give her a feeling about their personalities, which are all so different.
Throughout the years Jill has been in demand for her pet portraits and currently has quite a few on order for residents at the resort.
“Pets become an important part of many families, especially here at GemLife. They are often like children to their owners who treasure their company. They give unconditional love and are there to protect and be a friend and companion, so creating a portrait their owners can keep forever has proved very popular.”
The artist and her husband of 30 years, Stewart, are used to having pets around having previously been the owners of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. A son and daughter-in-law also have nine border collies and Jill has immortalised four of them through her art.
Jill was born with a natural talent for art, perhaps a skill she inherited from her father, uncle and grandfather, who were all artists in their own right. She describes her style as ‘classical realist’ like the old masters such as Rembrandt and Michelangelo which is particularly evident in her many oil and pastel still lifes.
She took art classes at school but was largely self-taught until 2012 when she studied with US Master Artist Daniel Edmondson and successfully completed a nine-month Art Master’s Program in the study of Fine Art.
Jill, who is a member of the Caloundra Arts Centre Association (CACA) and Artists Alliance Australia also attended classes taught by Master pastellists Tricia Taylor, Lyn Diffenbach, Raelene Hall and the late Brian Allison, and has sold many paintings privately and through exhibitions.
After a lifetime of working and bringing up a family, Jill is now able to devote more time to putting her natural artistic abilities to work while creating unique and inspirational pet portraits and paintings.
“I can’t think of a better place to do it because GemLife Bribie Island is just overflowing with wonderful pets and inspirational scenery from bush settings and trees to beautiful sandy beaches. I just love it here,” she said.