Life often unfolds opportunities where our passions intersect, creating a harmonious blend of our favorite pursuits. Ashley Derrick, an artist hailing from Cedar Hill, has beautifully woven her love for animals and artistic talents into a unique venture – painting pet portraits. In this delightful fusion, she not only expresses her creativity but also crafts lasting memories for pet owners who cherish her whimsical and vibrant creations.
“Animals are my thing. I’ve always loved them. It’s no surprise that they play a huge role in my art,” shares Ashley, revealing the deep connection between her artistry and her affection for animals.
The journey into pet portraiture began organically when Ashley decided to paint a series featuring her Great Dane, Bucky Barnes, capturing his quirky poses. Little did she know that this endeavor would evolve into a heartfelt endeavor, resonating with pet owners who sought to immortalize their furry companions through her brushstrokes.
“I got the crazy idea one day to paint a series featuring my Great Dane, Bucky Barnes, in some of his weird poses,” she recalls. “When I shared the art on my personal Facebook page, I had a handful of friends ask for commissions for their own pets, and when I shared that art in a local Facebook group to see if I could get any commissions from ‘the outside world,’ I did!”
Ashley’s artistic journey has a unique trajectory – she is mostly self-taught, lacking formal art school education or professional training. Her initiation into the world of art was influenced by family connections, including her mother and cousin who engaged in mural painting, and her grandfather who dabbled in painting during a specific season of his life.
Her art style, which she aptly describes as “whimsical,” is characterized by vibrant colors, contrasts, splatter, and pop art-inspired elements. Despite being a self-taught artist, Ashley’s works resonate with a playful and lively energy, bringing out the unique personalities of the pets she portrays. She emphasizes that while her personal works often feature bold and lively elements, her commissioned pieces are tailored to the preferences of her clients.
“I really like to have fun, and it often comes through in my paintings. Lots of bright colors, contrasts, splatter, and what can be described as ‘pop art inspired elements,” she explains.
The testimonials from Ashley’s clients echo the sentiment that her creations go beyond mere paintings – they capture the essence and spirit of the pets, creating meaningful and emotional connections.
“I have purchased drawings of my cat, my son’s dog as a memorial, and have commissioned one more for my daughter’s dogs. This talented young lady is worth every penny and more,” expresses Betsy Taylor.
Stephanie Shuster shares a touching experience, stating, “I asked Ashley to paint a portrait of my mom’s special little dog Taz as a Christmas present for her. I love Ashley’s style of painting and her eye for details. She included yellow daisies, my mom’s favorite flowers. I’m pretty sure this is one of the most meaningful gifts I’ve given my mother. We both cried when she opened it.”
While Ashley’s portfolio extends beyond pet portraiture, featuring murals of local wildlife, large canvases with majestic animals like lions and bears, and diverse animal-themed projects, her dream project involves a road trip to paint murals and imagery of sea life in aquariums across the country. Her artistic aspirations are fueled by a profound love for aquariums, and the idea of combining travel and painting at her favorite places fills her with overwhelming joy.
Amid her artistic endeavors, Ashley encountered a unique and cherished moment – meeting an artist who worked on the original Jurassic Park movie. This encounter not only became a source of inspiration but also provided valuable wisdom and advice that she has incorporated into her own artistic journey.
Ashley Derrick’s story is a testament to the power of combining passion with creativity. Through her paintbrush, she not only captures the physical likeness of pets but also infuses her creations with the spirit, joy, and memories shared between pets and their owners. As she continues to craft these heartfelt pet portraits, Ashley Derrick is creating enduring memories that resonate deeply with those who cherish the companionship of their four-legged friends.