INTERVIEW WITH ROSEANNA CHETWOOD
We have received an amazing response to our fantastic competition to win a personal commission of an original painting of your prized pet by the leading pet artist Roseanna Chetwood. We took some time out to invite Roseanna to talk about her work and we hope you enjoy reading this inspirational interview with Roseanna.
Roseanna, thank you so much for agreeing to providing a commissioned portrait of our winner’s favourite pet. That’s really kind of you.
Thank you, I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to put my talents towards such a worthy cause and highlight the great work you all do at the RSPCA.
Tell us a little about your business today, how this came about and why you decided to specialise in pet portraits.
I specialise in capturing beloved pets on canvas. I love to use palette knives to create a bold, sculptural surface of thick paint which is my signature style. The result is a fresh and modern style of pet portrait, which has captured the hearts of people at home and from around the world. To date I’ve painted over 60 palette knife pets some of which have travelled to the US, Canada, France and the Netherlands.
My eureka moment came in 2017 when I relented and listened to my Dad’s advice to swap my paint brushes in for palette knives; I picked up my first palette knife and my art career took off with my Palette Knife Pets series. There is a lesson to be learnt here… listen to your parents!
I have cherished memories of growing up with my two family dogs, a cairn terrier called Woody and a westie-cross called Fergus, who we rescued. I know personally what a profound impact pets can make to your life and I enjoy connecting with people who share that experience. Specialising in pet portraiture means every time I paint I get to pay tribute to the character of an individual pet which enriches their owner’s life and that’s a beautiful thing to capture.
What inspired and made you go into this profession
I have always been creative. I was lucky to be encouraged in my painting and drawing from a young age, so I have had lots of time to hone my skills. Art has become a fundamental part of my identity; painting is the thing I excel at so I knew it would play a big part in my future profession.
You have a very distinctive style in your approach. Were there any particular aspects that inspired or developed your style in this way
The work I produced at University consisted mostly of sculptural work, but I have also always kept painting in my spare time. So when it came to picking up palette knives for the first time I found myself developing my style by placing the paint in a thick, sculptural way. I had finally found my happy medium that unified both my love of sculpture and paint.
Do you have any animals of your own?
No sadly I don’t currently own a pet, my current work situation would mean I wouldn’t be able to lavish the time and attention I would like on a pet. But if I could I would probably be the proud owner of a very spoilt beagle.
How long does a typical commission take to produce and what is the process you use in your approach to your paintings.
I like to book in a week to complete a commissioned painting. The underpainting stage, where I am mapping out the composition in one bold colour takes around 30 minutes to 1 hour. I then have to wait for this layer to dry before applying the thick layer of oil paint. I like to add the thick paint layer all in one sitting which can take me anywhere between 4 and 6 hours. I usually leave the background to last, which takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour to block in.
What’s the largest picture you’ve ever been commissioned to produce
I have been commissioned to paint a series of four A1 (84.1 x 59.4cm) canvases for a client’s dining room and a lady in the USA also commissioned me to paint her ten basset hounds in a series of five paintings over a number of years, I am due to paint her last pair of bassets in July this year to complete the set. These are the largest commissions I have been asked to produce to date. But the largest painting I have ever produced is of a galloping horse which I painted this year and that measures 100 x100cm.
When we talk about privately commissioned portraits, this often conjures up a belief that this is a very expensive and exclusive option not easily available to everyone. How do you work to keep your talents available and affordable to us?
As oil paintings on canvas, my pet portraits are competitively priced. Oil paint retains a quality of colour and a longevity to it which will make a piece of art last a lifetime, for instance most of the old paintings you see in art galleries are oil on canvas. But ultimately the value I offer is my painting style which is unique to me and which I have spent my life developing. If the way I capture pets on canvas resonates with you, I know it will make you smile every time you pass it on the wall of your home.
Do you have any funny stores to share about your career so far!
I was approached online by a gentleman who wanted to commission a painting of his girlfriend’s jug. I assumed it was a typo and proceeded to ask him about his girlfriend’s pug. I then discovered that there is a cross breed between a Jack Russel and a Pug which is affectionately referred to as a Jug. By this point I was just relieved his girlfriend wasn’t the owner of two Jugs because that would have been a potentially embarrassing situation!
We are all animal lovers, and we could also have some budding artists in our following. What advice would you give to help young artists of the future.
Always keep practicing your skills and experiment with different mediums, a fun quote which I like to have in mind is “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep”-Scott Adams. This is such an important mantra to have at the beginning of an art career. Drawing from life is also a fundamental skill which is relevant to so many specialisms, so if you are not sure where to start, spending time improving your life drawing is never a waste of time. Professional artists are running a business. The flip side to creating art is marketing your art. I’ve found podcasts invaluable sources of advice and insight into the working world of being an artist. I can personally recommend, ‘Ask an Artist’, ‘Art Juice’ and ‘Creative Perspectives’.
Sadly we won’t all be competition winners and so if anyone would love to privately commission a picture from you, what’s your contact number.
I’m very open and upfront with my pricing and the commission process so there are no surprises along the way. Visit my website www.roseannachetwood.com/commission for full details on commissioning your own palette knife pet portrait. Alternatively you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I am also quite active on Instagram @roseannachetwoodartist if you would prefer to message me through there.
Roseanna, thank you so much for helping our charity. This means so much to us.
Good luck with the competition commission which we will look forward to announcing and seeing the results for and in the meantime good luck with your continued success.