"It is gratifying to see how much people love their animals and how strongly they react to receiving their artwork.”
Eve and her very best dogs in Portland, Oregon
Inspired by a love for her “Very Best Dogs,” Eve Holloran took to a computer a few years ago and unexpectedly started a new career, and eventually, a new business. Tapping into to her education as a painter and her background in graphic design and digital portraiture, Eve created portraits of her pets, simply for the pure enjoyment of having them.
Soon, it wasn’t uncommon for people who saw the portraits to ask if they could get one of their pets. Additional requests came through word-of-mouth recommendations.
In 2009, Eve launched the Very Best Dog website to provide information to people who were interested in her work. A few months later, she began selling portraits on Etsy. The business quickly grew beyond dog lovers to include all pet lovers as requests came in to create portraits of horses, cats and even people. That demand inspired the launching of Very Best Portraits, a full service e-commerce solution for pet-lovers everywhere.
“At first, I was happy to be able to merge my interests in digital painting with the love of my dogs,” Eve says. “And now after a few years, I am even more inspired as I see how happy people are when they see their portraits. It is gratifying to see how much people love their animals and how strongly they react to receiving their artwork.”
Eve characterizes her artwork as classic British portraiture, featuring a realistic style with visible texture and paint strokes – a very “Old World concept,” she calls it.
“Long ago, painters would add a richly colored and textured fabric behind their subjects that would provide drama and contrast," she says. "Then, lighting and detail would be added to create dimension."
That’s the technique. The intent is to capture an animal’s character, which can be challenging if you don’t love or know animals the way Eve does.
“I try to capture the character and personality of the animal, the humor, the whimsy, or the seriousness. For instance, with a dog, they rarely smile; the personality is in the eyes. How does that character shine through? That’s what you have to capture,” she says. “That’s how you create dimension; get beyond the flatness of a photograph.”
As Very Best Portraits grows, Eve looks forward to creating more customized offerings for animal lovers.
“I feel grateful and thankful to be able to take my art and see how happy it makes people. I don’t really look at it as a ‘gift’ I have, but a gift I have to give to other people.”
Eve is originally from Baltimore, Mayland, and now lives with her husband and son in wine country near Portland, Oregon, with a menagerie of pets.