arts and culturefeatured-art-and-cultureIssue 26

Pet Painting: Capturing Personality


By Noel Daniel

Carrie Arnold’s paintings look like the sort of art that’s taken a lifetime of drawing and color study to perfect. In actuality, her story is an inspiring combination of fierce determination and a passion for art.

“I got started with the desire to learn to draw and drawing in a sketchbook was my primary focus for almost three years,” said Arnold, who started in 2012. “I practiced doing something every day. It just clicked with me. I started experimenting with different media: pens and ink, acrylic, and watercolor.”

When Arnold started out, she was very private about her art, and she’d draw anything that she could. She’d draw inanimate objects there in the beginning, but her favorite—obviously—was anything with eyes. Arnold’s appreciation for personality takes form in her expressive paintings that hold boundless personality, capturing the vibrance and character of the pets she paints.

What really acted as a springboard for Arnold’s career was her decision to start sharing her pieces. When she donated a few of her pieces and a custom pet portrait for one of her daughter’s clubs, she realized there was a real interest in her work. So many people bid on her pieces, and for those who didn’t win, they contacted her later for commissions.

And that’s when things really took off.

dogArnold has a passion for her art, and now has books upon books of sketches, paintings, and prints. She puts out a prolific amount of art and loves to experiment with it—favoring interesting color combinations and background patterns that she makes with custom stamps . She pushes her boundaries in order to evolve and improve.

“I’m a new artist,” said Arnold. “I feel like, in a lot of ways, that I’m lucky that I stumbled onto it—a hobby that’s something that I’m driven to do.”

In fact, Arnold is driven enough that she sketches and creates in every spare snippet of time that she can manage. In the mornings, she typically sketches. In the evenings, she’ll tend to block in color, and then resume the following morning. Sometimes she’ll even come home on her lunch to continue a piece.

“I don’t have a studio—I create at my dining room table, said Arnold. “Typically I work in the morning— between kids going to school and me going to work and evenings after dinner. I slide in spare time when I have it.” And the practice and hard work have certainly paid off. Not only has Arnold created a veritable treasure trove of beautiful paintings, but she’s also become aware of the vibrant art scene in Modesto, taking her place among the amazing talent in the area.

“If there’s something that you really love and you really want to do, work on it and you’ll get good at it,” Arnold said. “If you’re going to get really good at something, you can’t get home from work and watch TV. You have to commit to it.”

For more information, pictures, etc, visit her instagram at

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