I recently discovered the work of artist Jess Minckley — beautiful portraits of cats, dogs and other pets. Jess has exhibited in galleries, taught art at three colleges and now does art commissions and illustrations for pet portraits.

The pet portraits started off when Jess lost her dog, Grover, and became obsessed with dog memes. She’d see them and just cry. “Then I did a painting of someone’s dog who I met on Facebook, and it made me feel a little better,” she says. That led to a painting of a friend’s chinchilla, which led to even more.

Jess’s favorite thing about creating the pet portraits is figuring out how to paint the space in between hairs with colors. “I use subtle colors to amplify the brilliance of the love we have for our pets,” she says. “These works are an intensified version of them.”

And her customers love her work. “They often break down in tears and thank me,” says Jess, who specializes in memorial paintings. “That in itself is reward enough for the work I do.”

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in Catster magazine. Have you seen the new Catster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting area of your vet’s office? Click here to subscribe to Catster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home. 

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