My name is Claire Alice Paccalin and I have been painting pets for most of my life! Nothing gives me more pleasure than revealing a just completed painting of a beloved pet to its owner, the image of this moment having filled my thoughts as I paint. My aim being to not only portray an accurate illustration of their pet but to also capture the essence of its character and expression. The paintings I did as a teenager, of my family’s now sadly deceased dog Oscar and cat Bubbles, mean so much to us all now; though obviously sad that they’re no longer with us, we’ve huge pleasure in seeing those typical poses and expressions caught in a moment in time.
The early years
After graduating from university, I took a year out working and travelling around Australia with a colour-pallet and a block of watercolour paper squeezed into my back-pack. Frequently I was given refuge with dog owners who, on parting with to continue my adventure, I thanked with a pooch portrait. On returning home to the UK I naturally started accepting pet portrait commissions, and have since painted a variety of animals for people in far flung places around the world.
As a student I enjoyed using mainly dry pastels but have since completely fallen in love with watercolours. Self-taught, I don’t use traditional methods, creating varying textures to the paint in order to accurately capture true to life details.
During a magical stay in Broome Australia an established artist gave me a valuable tip that has completely changed my technique. I have since used only four base pigment colours for all of my work, blending these to create an individual colour pallet for each portrait. This technique has increased the depth of my work and helped me render more accurately the finer details.
I studied Footwear and Fashion Accessory Design at De Montford University, where all my collections were based on British wildlife or natural formations. My final collection was selected for display at London Fashion Week and one of my pieces was selected for the finals of that year’s MODA show. There I mastered many new skills in computer design proficiency, which later lead to me to becoming a graphic designer and illustrator.
I currently live in a beautiful town called Bradford on Avon, near Bath, renowned for its exceptional beauty, where I am daily inspired by the incredibly rich fauna and flora at my doorstep. I consider myself one of the lucky ones, to be able to live by doing what I love on a daily basis. I am also most grateful to my numerous animal loving clients, as it is they who have made this possible, and I sincerely hope that I have brought them all some moments of happiness, and souvenirs to treasure, in return!
Follow me on Instagram @clairealicedesigns