Del Mar woman recreates pet photos with painted portraits

Jill Williams understands how much people adore their pets, creating pieces for them to always remember their fur babies.

The Del Mar resident has been painting pet portraits for the last five years.

"Pets are like family to people," she said. "They are great company. Even if you have to clean up the litter or take them for a walk, you just love your pet."

Williams, a six-time published writer and former Broadway playwright who moved to Del Mar from Arizona three months ago, began painting the portraits about five years ago after discovering a knack for the art by creating murals of Navajo rug designs on her Tucson home's walls.

Eventually, someone asked her to paint a dog, who had recently passed away. Challenge accepted, Williams thought.

Since then, she has painted more than 500 dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, pigs, horses and chickens.

Williams, a senior citizen who lives alone with her feline Fattycat, said painting the animals gives her something to look forward to doing every day. She estimates she paints about two portraits a week, with each creation taking about three to five days to complete.

"It's a great way to live and be excited about your life," she said, adding she only paints animals, not humans. "I see so many seniors who don't know what to do with themselves. I wake up every morning and I can't wait to start painting."

Williams only works off of photos sent to her of the pets. She starts off by blowing out the picture so she can cut out the outline of the animal.

"The dimensions will be correct," she said. "The rest is creativity."

Paintings sell for either $66.50 for a 7-inch-by-9-inch piece or for $91.50 for a 10-inch-by-13-inch piece.

Williams will give insight on her work at upcoming lectures. The first will take place at the Cardiff-by-the-Sea Library, 2081 Newcastle Ave., on Aug. 10 at 6:30 p.m. She will also hold lectures at the Del Mar Library, 1309 Camino Del Mar, on Aug. 23 at 6 p.m.; the Point Loma Library in San Diego, 3701 Voltaire Street, on Aug. 27 at 6 p.m.; and the Encinitas Library, 540 Cornish Drive, on Sept. 6 at 3 p.m.

For more information and to contact Williams about her upcoming talks or to consult about a possible portrait, visit www.texturedpetportraits.org.

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