Kayla and Flash, the award-winning Sheltie, both from a family living in South Carolina, US.
Kayla is a self-trained leader in dog obedience and agility competitions (18 and under). She was only 18 years old when she led Flash to their second series of awards in theirtt National Championships. After the victories, Kayla browsed thoroughly the Internet and found my website. She said she loved the soft realism faithfully captured in my other dog portraits. I also happened to be one of those few animal portraitist who incorporated human subjects next to pets. Like it is said, we were simply meant for each other!
In preparation for my work (which took less than 8 days that included discussions that incidentally, the whole family participated in! They were so sweet!), we browsed through Kayla’s recent photos of Flash and herself. I saw one of Kayla in a prom dress (which I learned later was designed and sewn by herself…what a kiddo!). Promptly I felt “That’s the one!”
Based on the photos which were clearly taken without flash, I captured both Kayla and Flash’s peculiar likenesses. I also gave her a subtle makeover (young and pretty that she already was, she didn’t need much make-up) and laid out suggested glimpses of the medals that they won, stashed on the top background of the portrait art. A Victory-Portrait couldn’t be one without those precious disks, right?
I further accessorized Kayla, giving her my design of a silver arm band that featured 2 of Flash’s paw prints. On her wrist, Kayla donned a telling teenager’s ubiquitous brown leather thong tied loosely to a knot. Also metallic pearl-drop earrings on her ears – low-keyed but tasteful accessories that every one at her prom-night would be envious of.
Kayla’s lovely blonde hair was swept upwards behind her to display a noble persona (I supposed, rarely seen, I chuckled to myself), in loose thick braids held in place by inconspicuous golden pins.
Lastly, a flouncy pale robin-blue (to match her eyes, Grandma said, and that they were “very blue”) gauzy prom-dress, tight at the bodice.. All floating teasingly in a length just above her low-heeled white satin pumps. Kayla must have very well been the most dog-lightful “princess” of the night, just from taking a whiff of the Joint Portrait!
I made Kayla very proud and delighted with this composite portrait of her and her beloved Flash which I showed here in a happy “flashy” grin that befitted a momentous ocassion.
The Result: A portrait of a matching pair; of a young and wholesome friendship between a girl-and-dog. This not only will be proudly shown to all visitors of Kayla’s family, friends and kin but to also Kayla’s best buddies, and likely new admirers. A wonderful and meaningful keepsake for the next generation(s).
To Kayla, this is the best of all worlds to her: acceptance into her peer group, acknowledgement as one of the youngest “Top Dog (trainer) in the competitive canine groups out there, popularity and adulation among her schoolmates, and lastly but not the least, to be adored and endeared, if possibly, even more, by her proud family.
All thanks to many things but the one that stood out had been this composite portrait of “Kayla and Flash”- The Victors!