Hi Everyone! I’m Allison, the creator, owner, and artist behind Go Gray Artwork. For over 5 years I’ve been painting pet portraits and it has been an amazing career and one that has taken me further than I ever expected. But now big changes are happening and I owe my customers some insight into the reasons for those changes.
This section was supposed to be about our second child–due February 2021–but tragically, we lost that pregnancy.
Although the pregnancy played a big part in my decision to change Go Gray Artwork, I’ve decided to move forward with the changes because our plan to grow our family is still a big part of our lives right now.
With that family-centric mindset, I will continue to balance work and motherhood, with an emphasis on motherhood (because these early years are so important).
My custom orders will continue to be very limited and as I transition from my signature style to the new style defined below, I will throttle the orders even more due to time demands.
Until we are blessed with another spark of joy and our family can truly grow again, I don’t expect to stop accepting custom orders entirely.
The New Pet Portrait Style
Over these 5 years, my style has changed considerably. Originally, my portraits were very loose and whimsical, a chaotic rush of colors with order only in the overlapping outline.
But years later, my portraits have crossed from undefined whimsy into more realistic portraiture.
I enjoy and prefer the more realistic style, despite the airy lightheartedness of my previous work, and actually would like to develop the realism further. Spending hours on one painting, layering details and shading and depth is something I truly enjoy and find more rewarding.
New Style Examples
The New Materials
- Paper: I will be transitioning to rolled watercolor paper. The roll is 156-lb. hot-pressed 100% rag cotton paper. It is 11% heavier than my previous paper and has added strength. It is a 51″ x 10 yard roll, so custom and larger sizes can now be accommodated as I will be hand cutting each order to size.
- Paint: I will be using Winsor & Newton Professional series paints — one of the best watercolor paint brands on the market.
The Price & The Reason Behind the Cost
- 5×7″ – $79.99
- 6×6″ – $89.99
- 8×8″ – $99.99
- 8×10″ – $109.99
- 12×12″ – $149.99
- Larger Sizes Available on Request – TBD
The smallest size that I will offer for these new portraits is 5×7″. Sizes larger than 12×12″ will be rolled and shipped in a tube. Additional pets, custom text or other requests will incur additional fees.
These prices are introductory and are subject to increase in the new year. Comparable artists on Etsy sell 8×10″ pet portraits for $200+.
The cost of a new pet portrait wasn’t assigned arbitrarily. Here are some of the costs that have increased on my end:
- Paper: The new high quality paper that I’m using is 81% more expensive than my previous paper. It also requires more work and time from me to measure and cut each portrait to size.
- Paint: Winsor and Newton Professional paint costs upwards of 800% more than my previous watercolor paint.
- Labor: The new portrait style takes 5 times longer (or more) to create. As I get more comfortable with the style, I hope to become more efficient.
- Time: Until recently, I was working 10 hours a day and underpricing myself–working for less than minimum wage. I worked weekends and major holidays (even Christmas day!). But my skill set is not amateur. It’s been developed and practiced over years and years. My time is more valuable than entry level work. And I don’t want to do myself a disservice.
My Valuable Customers
I understand that these changes are going to cause disruptions and upset some people. Even if I announce the changes on my social media pages, my website, and my Etsy store, it will only be seen by a select group of people.
Ultimately I will have returning customers or customers who are familiar with my previous work requesting a pet portrait in my previous style. And I know that it will be disappointing for those customers to find out that my previous style is being discontinued.
Since I am certain that I will receive requests to make an exception — especially from returning customers who want additional portraits that will match the style of their existing portraits — I’m sorry, but this change is meant to be permanent.
I’ve been so fortunate for the years that I’ve spent as an artist and to have thousands of amazing customers. I hope that this continues to be the case, through the changes and the pauses and the updates.