SAN DIEGO — If taking a picture of your beloved animal is not enough, you could always get a professional pet portrait. This Zevely Zone starts with my wife and kids as we make the following announcement: "Well, we finally did it. The Zevely Family got itself a dog. He is a Labradoodle. His name is Raleigh. He is 16 weeks old. We've been taking a lot of pictures of him because we have puppy fever."
Okay, I'll just come right out with it, my family is acting like one of those families that thinks they're the only ones to ever get their hands on an adorable puppy. It's called 'puppy love' and I'm glad to hear we're not the first family to fall.
"I just had a woman who hired me to do 12 Shelties. Twelve!" said Wiliams. I am sitting in Jill's Del Mar living room which doubles as her art studio. "My nickname is Jillybean," said Jill. She creates pet portraits. "My job is to paint whatever it is the customers want me to paint," she said. Jill has hand crafted 800 hundred of them and points around the room at some of her work, "A Saint Bernard there, a Pomeranian here."
With Raleigh making himself at home in her home, Jill showed me how she brushes with greatness. She picks up another pet portrait saying, "This is my cat Fatty Cat. Fatty Cat is in the bedroom right now pissed off. You can edit that out if you want." Did I mention Jill swears like a sailor? "I remember one customer who said 'Could you do a picture of my pug dressed as Abraham Lincoln'?" said Jill. She satisfied that request but I will warn you don't push her. "I am set in my ways, what a surprise, can you imagine that?" said Jill looking directly into our camera with her best Dirty Harry stare. Jill has a process. You e-mail her a picture. She paints it. Of all of the pictures my family has taken of Raleigh, there is one that is our very favorite. It was snapped with my daughter's friend Jake. Sorry Jake but we cropped you out of the picture. We zoomed in our puppy's smile and that is picture we are using for our pet portrait.
Jill uses the picture as a guide to paint her portraits. She ships them all over the world. "Each painting I do is my favorite," she said. She paints fish and birds and, okay, I can't hold my horses any longer. Jill has Raleigh's portrait under a cover and it is time for the countdown. "3,2,1, and reveal," she said. Raleigh and I approve, "Wow, look Raleigh! I love this. I love this," I said. Without missing a beat Jill adds, "Am I brilliant or what? Ha, ha, ha."