Browsing Tag


Reviews Services

An Incredible Pet Portrait From Jess Ridley Art

I got in touch with Jess Ridley after I came across her amazing animal portraits. Jess primarily gets commissioned for cat and dog portraits but also has a wonderful array of wildlife artwork inspired by her trip to Africa. I asked her to draw my golden retriever, Jofra, and I’m incredibly excited to share with you the results. I also asked Jess a few questions about her work.

How did you get started in pet portraits? Is it something you’ve always been interested in?

My whole life has been dedicated to performing, so it’s safe to say that I never saw drawing becoming as important in my life as it is now! Alongside my lifelong training in musical theatre, I drew purely as a hobby. I loved drawing as a child and would draw everything from the candlestick on the living room table to school portraits of my brother. In fact, some of my earliest (and perhaps best) pieces were crayon on wallpaper – much to the dismay of my parents! Drawing was always something that I found therapeutic. I never really envisioned it becoming such a large part of my life.

A trip to Africa provided me with a huge amount of inspiration to create some wildlife pieces that caught attention on social media and so I began my small business. I had only ever created drawings as gifts for friend and family but quickly realised there was a demand for portraits of the lovely furballs we share our lives with.

Pet portrait Jess Ridley

What is the most challenging aspect of drawing pets?

The most challenging aspect of creating a pet portrait is working with the customer to get the right reference photo. Animals are notoriously tricky to get to stay still, but getting a clear, well lit, high-quality reference picture really is the key to a good portrait. Creating features that can not be seen in the reference photo (for example if part of it is blurry) is something I find very challenging.

Why is graphite or charcoal your go-to medium? What do you like about them?

Graphite has been my go-to medium simply because it is what I began drawing with as a child. It was a natural progression from scribbling on printer paper with a HB pencil from the kitchen drawer to where I am now. I only bought my first ‘proper’ drawing pencils in my teens and used to draw with whatever I found around the house. I have always loved the effect of monochrome pieces but hope to branch out into pastels soon to add a different element to my wildlife and pet portraits.

Pet portrait Jess Ridley

How has your artwork evolved over the years? What have you learnt in the process?

Although I took art GCSE, I would say everything that I have learnt about drawing has been through trial and error. There are hours of tutorials on youtube as well. Practise really is what it is all about and I truly believe anyone can draw if they have a structured approach and time to dedicate to it. I learn something new with every portrait I create.

One of the biggest challenges is knowing when to stop! Once I have finished a piece I will often hide it away for a few days and come back to it with fresh eyes before deciding it is complete. My biggest lesson has been that patience is very important. It takes a while for a piece to take shape and it has taken me a long time to have patience with the process.

Pet portrait Jess Ridley

Interested in a portrait? Get in touch with Jess Ridley via her website: or email

Don’t forget to follow her on Instagram and Facebook for the latest updates.

You might also like: 

Children’s Oil & Charcoal Portraits with Samuel Francis

24 Purrfect Presents For Pet (& Pet Lovers)

Looking for something else? Take a peek at my ultimate directory for the parenting, style and business recommendations.

People Products Spotlight

Clare Haxby : British Contemporary Artist

Today’s Spotlight is on British artist, Clare Haxby. Her bright, vivid work caught my eye on Instagram Each piece is eye catching and spectacular and would be a striking addition to any home that needs a lift.

Clare is a British Artist, painter and printmaker who has just returned to London after spending 8 years living in Singapore. She moved there in 2007 with her husband and 2 children, Scarlett & Teddy, and set up a professional studio. (She has subsequently had a 3rd – Alfie!).

Family picture - Clare Haxby Artist & family Photographer - Amber Roberts

In Singapore, Clare held regular open days inviting people to her home and studio on the edge of the jungle in one of Singapore’s Black and White old colonial homes and she attracted a strong International following. She got a breakthrough when the manager of The Fullerton Hotel “loved my art inspired by Singapore and offered to host my solo show which eventually became a springboard for my success there. I had spent 3 years painting the collection of large canvases!”


The Expats in Singapore loved Clare’s vibrant and contemporary paintings and many of them were bought as a treasured memory of their time in Singapore to take home with them when they left!


Clare has produced a large collection of Singapore Landmark Paintings such as the colonial building of Raffles Hotel and the contemporary landmark Marina Bay Sands alongside other much loved collections of botanical’s, an equestrian collection and a motherhood collection.

Transition to motherhood 30 x 30 cms mixed media on paper by Clare Haxby

Clare’s paintings are in private collections all over the world and her clients include The French Embassy of Singapore, The Swedish High Commissioner of Singapore and corporates such as BNP Paribas.

The Botanic Gardens_ Clare Haxby Studio 72dpi

Since returning to England during the summer of 2015 Clare has set up a new studio in the Surrey Hills, exhibited in Venice, London, Rome, Columbia and New York and one of her new gingerlily paintings has been featured in British Vogue!

Clare Haxby - My Beautiful Ginger Lilies Painting

“I love being back as despite the weather and no helper… Oh how I miss my amazing helper from Singapore! London is such a dynamic city and there is always so many exhibitions to see. My clients in Singapore all asked me when I was starting my London Landmarks, I have just started – I am painting the ‘Liberty London’ building at the moment!”


Clare produces art on 2 price points. Firstly, one off original paintings on canvas either from her own collection or a commission as a bespoke painting, the second is her affordable art prints (from £249) which are often bought online as gifts as she ships them worldwide in a lovely gift tube. (She has a special offer for free international delivery on all prints!)

Studio Visits are very welcome if you fancy a jaunt to the Surrey Hills to discuss any requirements.  Please email Clare at

Buddhas & Botannicals _CLARE HAXBY STUDIO 72dpi(1)

Clare’s Favourites

Website : English Folly Brie is a fellow Singapore expat and like me back also now back in England. we met in Singapore and bonded over juggling being an entrepreneur & mother, I have bought lots of her gorgeous personalised textiles.

Shop : Graham & Green  for colourful and unusual interior finds

Holiday destination : Ubud in Bali for Yoga retreats, Aix en Provence in France for Art and culture & Bhutan a tiny landlocked country between India & China for the ultimate step back in time ‘global nomad’ experience. The next on my wanderlust wish list is Peru…

Restaurant : Terminus Nord The Bouillabaisse is amazing and the little butter pats are wrapped in beautiful paper.

Hotel : Raffles Hotel Singapore – colonial elegance and afternoon tea in the Tiffin Room.

Parenting tip :

“It’s just a phase – give yourself a pat on the back and a glass of wine”

Interiors Products Spotlight

Harriet Hoult: Abstract Artist

If you want to know who the next big thing is in the art world, let me introduce you to Harriet Hoult.

Her pieces are beautiful and intriguing and would be a stylish addition to an empty space on your wall. If you don’t have any space, you may want to think about replacing it with one of Harriet’s.  She has a growing fan base and they are fast becoming collectors items – once someone has bought one, they often buy from her again. They would also make a wonderful present.

imageHarriet is an abstract painter who has an instinctive approach to her work. Each painting is a unique journey where she is continually challenged to trust in the process. She is inspired by the everyday and her work is an interpretation of these experiences onto paper.  She is fascinated by aesthetics and the visual interplay between form, space and colour which she is continually exploring. Harriet paint’s in acrylic, building layers, combining different shapes, marks and colours, to create abstract images. For her there is a “certain mystery in abstract form; a communication without direct suggestion that can be interpreted by the viewer, based on their own perceptions and can sometimes speak to a deeper part of us”.

Her studio is in Petersham, near Richmond.  It is approx 3m x 5m and it has a clear plastic roof which makes it fantastic in terms of light.  “I am a very messy painter so it is absolutely covered in a multitude of splashes and drips of different coloured paint”.  At either end of the space, are shelves where she keep’s all of her paints and brushes.  In an ideal world she would love a really big studio with lots of space as she love’s working on multiple paintings at the same time.  From the reaction Harriet’s pieces are getting, I imagine it won’t be long before she has her much desired larger studio!



Harriet’s Favourite’s

Shop: Anthropologie


Restaurant: Hix in Soho, London

Hotel: Scarlett Hotel, Cornwall

Place: Richmond Park

To View Online