Student Anne Griffin – Pet Portrait Art Course

Todays blog post has been written by Student Anne Griffin – Pet Portrait Art Course. We hope that you enjoy reading Annes experiences and viewing her wonderful artwork. We wish Anne all the best for her future paintings and drawings.


I am London Art College student Anne Griffin. A good friend and I were discussing one day where our art was taking us and we decided to enrol together with the London Art College on the Pet Portrait Diploma course. What an great idea this was. We found it a lot more challenging than we expected but were able to support each other through all the periods of self doubt in producing our work and submitting it for assessment. Our tutor Gayle Mason was excellent in judging our strengths and weaknesses. She pushed us into a much higher standard than we dreamt we could achieve. Gayle did not miss anything in her critiques – even a misplaced whisker. She was also generous in her praise and whilst we suffered agonies over every submission we always felt she had made a very good assessment. Gayle was very generous with her time and in sharing her knowledge and made us feel that our success was her success as well. She has given us the benefit of her experience in promoting ourselves for commissions and instilled a sense of self worth and belief in our ability.

The Final Submission

Our final submission was a mock commission for a painting of two dogs. We had to produce an advertising pamphlet and a client brief in the form of a letter. The masthead to be of our own design detailing the client’s requirements. It needed to offer advice and recommendations as to the most suitable medium and composition; sketches were required for this purpose. The two dogs I chose were from my own reference photos taken in two different places while on a motorcycling tour in Northern Spain the previous year. They were from different areas and different breeds. I was inspired to place them in such a way as to show a close bond and take advantage of their different sizes to try to create a protective feeling in the larger dog over the smaller. I think this worked well and the closeness was enhanced by the background of foliage against a fence in close proximity. There were many challenges in scale and detail but I gave it my best shot and awaited my results with trepidation. You can imagine my delight to find that I had been awarded a distinction, as had my friend for her submission.

Be Observant

Gayle taught me to be ultra observant, to measure scale accurately, to check tone against a greyscale. She also encouraged me to take short breaks, reconsider and correct where necessary, and never to be satisfied until I could give no more. I will always strive for this level of commitment, and work through problems to achieve a standard of excellence. I have seen this standard in Gayle’s own artwork and she is inspiring me now to tackle wildlife as well as domestic pets, using the skills she has instilled in me.

We worked hard to finish the course well within the time limit and set our own schedule to do so. This helped us keep focussed and allowed us a margin of time at the end should it have been necessary.

From my own experience I cannot recommend highly enough the course content. It was structured to take the student in measured steps towards the final skills required. This was even more apparent in hindsight when I looked back through my portfolio and submissions.

Thank you London Art College and a special thank you to Gayle Mason.

Anne Griffin
Pet Portrait Diploma Course

Student Anne Griffin - Pet Portrait Art Course

Student Anne Griffin - Pet Portrait Art Course

Student Anne Griffin - Pet Portrait Art Course


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