I have always loved to draw and paint faces, ever since I was a little girl, and I still do. Recently, I decided to start a pet portrait business, which is a lot of fun. But when I got the opportunity to do a portrait of Holly and her person, animal healer, Rachel Augusta, it made me really happy. Whether it’s an animal or it’s a person, I love the endless variety and unique nuances in each individual face. I intuitively connect with the spirit inside the individual as well, which comes through in the finished work.


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In this case, Holly had become sick, and Rachel had felt helpless to make her well. So Holly became the spark that created the Gutsy Grackle, aka Rachel Augusta, animal healer extraordinaire! When Holly was sick, Rachel began to educate herself about how to recognize the signs of illness in an animal, how to communicate with animals, and of course, myriad ways to heal them. She has now made it her mission to teach others how to care for their furamily (a name she coined to describe furry family members) members, and to be able to recognize signs of illness and distress. She offers an audio track that soothes anxiety ridden animals to folks who subscribe to her website at http://www.rachelaugusta.com/. People have noted some really awesome results!

So in this painting, I was interested in capturing this special moment between Holly and Rachel, and their unique faces and personalities. Rachel said that she thought the photo of them looked like they were stargazing, so I made sure to utilize that for the painting. You can see that the photo was very dark, and lacking in color and contrast, so I had to work from additional photos of each of them to get this result.

I was so delighted that Rachel burst into tears the first time she saw it. Not that I wanted to make her cry, but it was clear to see how moved she was by the painting. And that’s what it’s all about now, isn’t it?

More info: shelleyrugg.com

Holly and Rachel Stargazing

Original photo