Tag Archives: Charity


Pet Portrait Commission

Alyson Sheldrake Pet Portrait

Art by Alyson Sheldrake Pet Portrait
© Alyson Sheldrake

Portrait:  ‘Digby’
Size & Medium: 
45 x 40 cm Acrylic on board
Commissioned from:  

This portrait was completed as the prize painting for the ‘Best in Show’ at the Algarve Dog Show at the International Algarve Fair in June 2013

Here I am at the show meeting the lucky winner Jan with her gorgeous dog Digby:

Algarve International Fair 2013 Algarve Dog Show Alyson Sheldrake art

 I have added a photograph of the final painting, together with some of the original reference photographs. I have also shared the recipient’s lovely feedback with you all too. The painting was supplied finished with a concealed frame, ready to hang. I hope you enjoy this page of information and if you would like to commission me to paint your pet don’t hesitate to contact me

The Pet Portrait in Progress

I often take photos as I am progressing with a painting, these are mainly for my own benefit – I do not tend to show a client a work in progress as I prefer to wait until I have completed the piece and ensured all of the colours and tones are correct and balanced.

On this occasion I worked through so quickly that I did not stop to take any photographs in progress!

I will always send the final version as a jpeg image via e-mail to the client for approval to ensure that they are happy with the painting and colouring before I finish. I do not charge any commission fee up-front, preferring to ensure that a client is 100% happy with the painting before they pay for it.

The Pet Portrait – Image

Being married to a photographer has its advantages! All of my paintings are photographed using a professional Digital SLR Camera, in natural light, and the colour and tones are ensured to be a perfect match with the original painting using Photoshop. The image is then stored as a full sized tiff image and a smaller jpeg version only is displayed on my website. This ensures that should a client require a print from the original painting, we are able to fulfil this requirement for them.

The Pet Portrait – The Finished Painting

Alyson Sheldrake Pet Portrait

© Alyson Sheldrake

Client’s Pet Portrait Reference Photographs
I ask clients to e-mail me a range of photographs for me to work from, and I tend to use one main photograph for the pose and use others for reference, detail and colouring. I am also sometimes asked to add a different background to the piece which can easily be achieved via Photoshop. The photographs depicted below may vary in colour to the finished painting – this can be due to the scanning or the original quality of the photographs – or simply that only one particular photograph was used to ensure the colouring of the pet. If a photograph sent is not detailed enough or of a high enough quality, then I will let the client know – and I always chat through the final pose, background and colouring before I begin, so that I am satisfied that I know what the client requires.

The client sent me through a number of shots, including this one:

Alyson Sheldrake Pet Portrait

Client’s Reference Photo

I have to say a huge thank you at this point to Dan and Natasha from Birch Photography – not only did they run round all weekend photographing the Dog Show, they also took a fantastic photograph of Digby which they very kindly allowed me to use to paint my Pet Portrait from! I am always keen to be given the very best photographs that I can to work from, the more detail and information a photograph can give me, the easier my job is – and Birch Photography’s photograph was amazing as they really captured the essence of Digby and got him looking straight at the camera:

Birch Photography

They are also a great young couple working out here on the Algarve, covering events, corporate and commercial work, real estate, weddings and portraits – you can find out more about them via their website Birch Photography or Facebook Birch Photography Facebook Page – we can highly recommend them!

Client’s Feedback and Comments
I am always delighted to receive feedback from the client – and if the painting is a gift, from the final recipient too! Often messages are left for me on Facebook or via e-mail, and are reproduced here, and on my website, with the client’s permission. Sometimes clients also later send me a photograph of the painting hung on a wall in their home, which is lovely for me to be able to see where the painting has been placed.

E-mail message from Jan on seeing the painting’s jpeg images:

So pleased with Digby’s painting, thank you so much”

We also arranged to deliver the painting in person – which gave me another chance to meet Digby – who was absolutely gorgeous!

Alyson Sheldrake Pet Portrait

The winning painting was even featured in the local newspaper too:

Portugal News Alyson Sheldrake Digby Pet portrait

Portugal News 12/07/13

I have already arranged with the organiser of this year’s Dog Show that I will be at the International Algarve Fair again this year – and I will be offering a free prize Pet Portrait to the ‘Best in Show’ of both the Saturday and Sunday competitions – so put the 7th and 8th of June dates in your diary!

With special thanks to Jan and the Algarve Dog Show for allowing me to paint ‘Digby’

To find out more about my paintings, including pricing, please click the link here to view my work on my website:

Alyson Sheldrake Pet Portraits charity SOS Algarve Animals

And please feel free to share this link with anyone else that you think might be interested!

Pet Portraits – SOS Algarve Animals sponsorship 2014

Alyson Sheldrake Pet Portraits charity SOS Algarve Animals

I am delighted to be able to inform you that for the whole of 2014 I will be donating 10% of my profits from my Pet Portrait paintings to the wonderful SOS Algarve Animals Charity here on the Algarve.

SOS Algarve Animals are a registered charity that help abandoned animals in the Algarve.  Portugal is believed to be one of the worst countries in Europe for animal neglect and abandonment; on average SOS Algarve Animals re-homes between 300 and 400 dogs, cats, puppies and kittens every year. They are also involved in sterilizing approximately 600 dogs and cats every year.

You can find out more about this charity by clicking the logo below which will direct you to their website:

 Alyson Sheldrake Pet Portraits charity SOS Algarve Animals

As an acrylic painter based here on the Algarve, as well as creating modern acrylic paintings, I also complete Pet Portraits as commissions. Last year I sponsored the ‘Best in Show’ at the Algarve Dog Show, and this year I wanted to do more for a worthwhile animal charity. I am therefore donating 10% of my profits for each Pet Portrait painting to the SOS Algarve Animals charity during 2014.

My Pet Portrait paintings

I specialise in creating an original and unique portrait painting of your pet. I enjoy creating unique, hand-painted portraits and I aim to capture both a realistic likeness and also something of the personality of your pet, working from your own photographs.

Alyson Sheldrake Pet Portraits

To find out more about my paintings, including pricing, please click the link here to view my work on my website:

Alyson Sheldrake Pet Portraits charity SOS Algarve Animals

And please feel free to share this link with anyone else that you think might be interested!

Painting a Pet Portrait – step by step

“A portrait! What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound” Charles Baudelaire

I thought it might be good to show you how I paint a Pet Portrait in stages. So I am going to introduce you to Seamus and show you how I painted him.

'Seamus' original photograph

I start off with the photograph(s) from the client and I will e-mail them to make sure that I have understood the brief properly – I will also let them know if the quality of the photos is not good enough to work from. I’ll also check what background they would like me to create.

In this case, I checked that they wanted me to use the picture of Seamus with his eyes closed – which they did – and also that they wanted the leaves in the background – “typical Seamus” was the reply which was great as I always want to portray the pet ‘as they are’

Once I am happy with the images, I will then get to work sketching out the design and making sure that I get the likeness and sizing just right:

'Seamus' #1

Here’s Seamus all drawn out in pencil and the background dark colour blocked in. I always paint using high quality acrylic paints on a gesso-primed and prepared board – this one was 44cm x 44cm – you can find out more about how I prepare each board on this post C is for Canvas

Then it was on to the leaves – I wanted them to surround Seamus without overpowering him – the main feature is always the pet! He seemed to nestle into the leaves quite nicely:

'Seamus' #2

Next came the fun bit – and the smaller brushes came out of the jar – his face was so peaceful and content in the photograph, with lovely soft fur – I think I captured him quite well:

'Seamus' #3

I try to always work from top to bottom on a picture, with the background going in first so that I can create the depth and layers that I like to show. Next was his body, and having sorted out the colour mixing for his face and fur, it was easy to carry this through into his body:

'Seamus' #4

I loved painting his tail!

Then it was just a case of adding in the foreground leaves, which I lightened to make sure they stood out and gave the picture more depth and perspective:

'Seamus' #5

Often I stand back at this point and even leave a picture overnight to see how it feels in the morning – but I was happy with this one straight away and didn’t make any changes at all. A quick signature bottom left and we were done!

Here’s a close-up of Seamus’ face for you, which gives you the best colour reference too:

'Seamus' close-up

He’s a very handsome chap!

Then it’s the scary moment when I send the images over to the client for approval – and I wait on tenterhooks for their reply! I am always so keen to get it right and make sure the client is happy – and my website is very clear that our t&c’s state that you don’t have to pay anything up front, or pay at all until you are happy! That’s just the way we run things!

Luckily they liked it (!) in fact their reply was lovely:

” The portrait is perfect, thank you! You have really captured our lovely Seamus!”

The painting gets added to our website A3 Art and payment is safe and secure via our PayPal system:

A3 Art website screenshot

Once the painting is all authorised and paid for, I carefully paint the edges of the board a crisp white, then it’s over the Dave to add the fixings on the back so that the painting is ready to hang. All of my paintings are designed to float on the wall with a concealed frame and hanging – you can unpack it from the box when it arrives, plonk a picture hook in the wall and hang it straight up!

Here’s the finished painting for you:

'Seamus' original acrylic painting by Alyson Sheldrake

‘Seamus’ original acrylic painting by Alyson Sheldrake

Then we create the individual Certificate of Authenticity that comes with all of our original paintings – and then it’s time to pack it up – we use lots of bubble wrap and cardboard – and take it off to the post office. We send our items recorded delivery and they have a tracking code on them too so that we can see where they are. We try to warn people that they can take 7 – 10 working days to arrive – the parcels tend to sit at Heathrow – Langley for distribution for several days – and then we always like to hear from the client once the portrait has arrived safely.

Then it’s time to sit down with a cup of tea, and load up the pictures for people to enjoy:

'Seamus' painting with original photograph

If you would like more information about how you can commission a Pet Portrait – for yourself or as a gift for a friend – just click the logo below:

A3 Art Pet Portraits logo

Exciting week ahead


Silves Medieval Fair

Medieval Fun and a charity boat!

It’s Medieval Fair time again in Silves! Last year this was easily one of the best things we experienced and we can’t wait to go back again – we’re planning a few evenings out there!

If you want to know more about it you can read my post about last year’s Fair via this link here:

Silves Medieval Fair

Little Red Boat by Alyson Sheldrake

‘Little Red Boat’ acrylic painting © Alyson Sheldrake

And finally I can share it with you! ~ Here’s the postcard I completed for the Westhall Secret Postcard Auction – they raised over £5,000 in total – my postcard raised the same amount as Nick Clegg’s (and more than Frankie Dettori’s!) and I have received a delightful e-mail from the winning bidder on my postcard.

Chickens and Charity


5 chickens painting

‘5 Chickens’ acrylic painting © 2012 Alyson Sheldrake

Chickens and Charity – an unusual combination!

Westhall Charity Postcard Auction

Westhall Charity Postcard Auction 2012 – click for image link

I promised to share these with you as soon as I could – so the top image is the latest commission in my Pet Portraits series – I had to wait for the recipient’s birthday before I could reveal the painting online!

And also click here Westhall Charity Postcard Auction to view all of the postcards that have been submitted for this Charity Postcard Auction – they are all supposed to be secret until after the auction … but those of you that know my ‘New Wave’ style of painting might be able to spot mine – let me know if you do! ;)

And I am in good company with Frankie Dettori, the Prime Minister and quite a few famous artists! Why not check out the site – or even bid for a postcard – it is for two very worthwhile charities.

‘Popular and hidden’



Our most popular – and secret (!) images

WSPA postcard

A small explanation!

The top image is our most popular image – ever – on Facebook! It went viral and reached over 47,000 people! wow!

You can click the photo above and go straight to our website A3 Art to find out more – or even purchase a print!

The second image is a teaser! – because I can’t show you what I have painted!! It’s for the Westhall Secret Postcard Auction and I’m in good company, with famous artists, celebrities and even David Cameron! Click the link above to find out more about this worthwhile charity – the Duchess of Cambridge is their new Royal Patron – but you’ll have to wait until the 1st of June to view all the postcards. See if you can spot mine – it’s in my usual style … and you know how much I love painting boats!