DROOL: When do you feel you first found success in the world of art, and how have you grown since then?
Alex: I do not think that there was ever an exact moment. I started up my portrait business while still in college, so every bit of progress felt like another baby step. My first sale, my first art show, and my first year painting full time were all tiny markers on my road to success.
The idea of becoming a self-employed artist felt more real after my second year full time. I never pursued art in a traditional way; I didn’t apply to galleries or attempt any exhibitions, so I didn’t always feel like I was a “successful artist”. While in art school, this is the direction they try to push you in. But there is always more than one way to be successful, and I’m glad that I took the path that I did. I don’t think that I would have been able to bring so many people happiness any other way.
DROOL: How did you discover your voice in art?
Alex: I always loved to draw, animals especially, but my high school art teacher really helped guide me to become the artist I am today. She steered me towards oil in the first place, and a dog painting was one of my very first attempts.
While I was in college, I started taking commissions on the side, mostly from friends and family. Junior year, I attempted to get an internship at a local gallery. When I sent the owner my resume along with my pet portrait portfolio, he said to me, “Why would you want to come and waste your time here? Keep working on those!”. That was one of the key moments when I realized that I was onto something good.
"I love to paint dogs! I love capturing their personalities, their uniqueness, and most importantly, their spirits."
Alex: I honestly cannot imagine doing anything else. I get to paint adorable subjects all day, set my own hours, and bring joy to so many people. Each time a client tells me that I’ve truly captured their furbaby’s soul, it makes all of the work worth it. This year, I hope to reach even more people across the United States. My husband bought me a push pin map to keep track of my paintings’ new homes, and I’d love to be able to pin down even more places.
DROOL: What about dogs attracts you to them as subjects for your artwork?
Alex: I have always been dog crazy, ever since I was a little girl. So for me, they were always my favorite subject. Some people ask me, “if you didn’t paint dogs, what would you paint?”, but ultimately, I love to paint dogs! I love capturing their personalities, their uniqueness, and most importantly, their spirits.
DROOL:Which do you prefer: dogs or people, and why?
Alex:I prefer them both! Dogs are the embodiment of unconditional love, but we as people need other people to thrive. Together, they make the perfect pair.
DROOL: If you had to choose one dog breed to characterize who you are, what breed would it be and why?
Alex: That’s a tough one. If I had to pick one breed though, it would probably be the Greyhound. I’ve always been pretty skinny with long limbs so there’s that. But I’m also very low key most of the time, with bursts of energy every once in a while.
DROOL: Anything else you want to share with the dog-loving humans of Earth?
Alex: If you’d like to get in touch about commissioning your own custom portrait, feel free to reach out or check out my website, www.painted-paws.com. Thank you for the interview!