It’s bittersweet painting a portrait of a pet who has passed on. It’s hard painting when you know the subject is being grieved. And yet, these are some of my fondest works because the reactions are beautiful and I find even more meaning in what I do.

“Bear” was a commission for a friend’s sister-in-law. The pup had recently passed and left an emptiness, but my friend knew a portrait would be a great birthday gift to capture those sweet memories forever. I gladly took on the commission and was thrilled to get his picture.


I was hesitant at first to work with snow. How do you make it pop? How do you do the subject justice with a white background? Yet as I started, I came to love the playfulness and vibrancy of life coming through in the snow dusted on his face and around his paws. I could picture him frolicking through the cold, stopping to rustle his face in the snow, and popping up for this picture. I knew this portrait would mean a lot to me, not to mention his owner!

I was almost sad to send him out, but I knew there would be a beautiful story. My friend sent a text tonight and said his sister-in-law cried quite a bit and mentioned that it was the “best birthday gift ever!” I’ll take that. 😉 She even took this picture and posted it to her Facebook wall:


“Bear” with Original

Live on, Bear. Live on.

With love,

Natalie Grace


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