The pet portraitist

A “Paint and Sip” evening out with friends at Pinot’s Palette in Stamford created a spark that ignited a new career for Mount Kisco’s Laura Massari Oris. 

A financial adviser by trade, Laura decided to paint her sweet puppy Jackson at the wine-and-paint party.The painting was so well-received that she posted a photograph of it on Facebook. 

“It all took off so fast,” Laura says. “Before I knew it, people started texting and messaging me with requests to paint portraits of their pets as gifts for family and friends.”

Over the next few years, Laura’s second career flourished, even with the newly added roles of wife to husband Peter and mother to baby girl Madison. With a studio in Mount Kisco, her own website and an Etsy store, commissions began to pour in.

Her process? “It all starts with a photo. I ask my client to provide a photo of the pet.  From that I create a basic sketch and send it to the client for approval. They can have as little or as much collaboration as they want in the planning of the piece. Once we decide on the basics, then it’s up to me to capture the spirit and essence of the pet on my canvas.”

Her 11-by-14 inch acrylic portraits can run between $350 and $750. “It all depends on how much time I spend and how intricate the piece gets.”  Her paintings are known to capture the expression and light behind a pet’s eyes — a window to the soul.

Laura’s paintings have also caught the attention of celebrities such as Ice-T, Coco Austin, Kathie Lee Gifford, Jeanine Pirro, Megyn Kelly and Elvis Duran, all of whom own one of her pieces. 

As the writer and host of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show Roger Caras once said, “Some of our greatest historical and artistic treasures we place with curators in museums. Others we take for walks.” With Laura’s paintings, we are reminded we can do both. 

For more, visit lalapetportraits.com or llmassari@gmail.com.

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