Portraying Pets

Two Artists With Local Ties Use Their Medium to Depict our Beloved Companions.

Michelle Staub doesn’t just embroider pet pictures; she makes memories for pet parents around the world. A self-taught artist who originally embroidered video game characters, Michelle found she loved showcasing animal subjects when she created a piece featuring her own cat, Purrl.

“What I love most is how personal the subject matter is...I understand the closeness of the bond that forms between a pet and its human,” Michelle says. 

She appreciates the texture of thread, its similarity to pet fur. 

“It’s not a flat piece of art, it has texture and depth,” she adds. 

The process involves creating a mock-up and pattern from a photo and finding quirks to capture. Each piece takes 15-40 hours to create. Michelle has created more than 600 pieces in the last five years.

Jen Reid is not your typical watercolor painter. Instead of a paintbrush, she uses an app to create watercolor prints of animals for pet owners. The retired Lakota teacher has been working with photo apps since being inspired at a workshop in 2009. 

“I enjoy making photo art because it makes people happy,” Jen explains. 

Jen started using animals as her subjects when a friend requested a pet portrait featuring her dog which had passed away. 

“When they see it digitally altered, they melt,” she says. 

Jen loves working with animals because clients consider them family members and it brings comfort. She edits and digitally alters photos provided by clients, prints and mats the image, and is finished in about a week. 

She compares her process to baking. 

“Baking isn’t hard...the oven does the magic,” she says. “My skill is getting the settings right. While the transformation is like baking, there’s skill in getting the right ingredients into the pan.” 

Find Jen Reid’s work at Symmetry Boutique in Fairfield.

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