She wasn’t an artist but she had, and still has, an endless love for animals that inspired her to paint colorful and realistic portraits of pets.
Katlyn Knifley was first inspired to paint a picture of a family member’s dog and what started as just a creative gift idea, has evolved into a successful side business for the Adair native.
“I decided to do this as a surprise for my aunt and I had never painted before but my first one turned out pretty good,” says Knifley. “When I posted a photo of it on Facebook, everyone started messaging me and asking me to paint their pets and that is how this all got started.”
Knifley started doing pet portraits in late 2017 and she estimates that she has completed around 50 portraits now. She completes each portrait with just a canvas, some paint, and a few paintbrushes. She uses references provided by her customers to capture a unique and accurate likeness of the animals she paints.
“Primarily, I’ve been doing dog paintings because I feel that is what I’m best at now but I hope to be able to expand and do other things like cats and horses,” says Knifley.
The self-taught artist has done a little research, but she has relied mostly on intuition and by taking her time.
“When I first started it would take me eight hours or more to do a single painting, but now that I have a little more experience I’m able to finish them in four to five hours, sometimes more, it just depends.”
Knifley does the majority of her portraits on 11’ by 14’ canvases and charges $50 for a portrait. After buying the supplies and putting in the time, she doesn’t make much money, but she says she gains so much more.
“For me, this is something I want to keep doing because it’s fun and very therapeutic for me,” says Knifley. “It just feels like a calling and the happiness it brings people is the best part. I’ve had people cry and I can’t believe they love the paintings so much but people love their animals like family members.”
Knifley has pets of her own that she has painted including her pet pig Penelope. She hopes to finish another personal project in the near future of a large horse with a jockey, but she continues to receive dog portrait requests on a regular basis.
“I just want to thank everyone for their interest because it means so much to me to be able to do this for people and I appreciate everyone who reaches out to me,” says Knifley. “I’m not a professional and I’m still learning but I’m so happy to try to do whatever a customer wants.”
Knifley says that the biggest honor she gets is when someone asks her to paint a memorial portrait of a pet that has passed away.
“I get a lot of memorials and for me to be able to paint them and for the owners to be able to cherish them forever, it’s just awesome. The rest of the world just kind of shuts off when I paint and it’s such an honor to do this.”
Pet owners interested in getting their own portrait can contact Katlyn on Facebook or by phone at 270-250-2649.
By Adam Capps