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Conversations with Kristin Murphy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristin Murphy.

Hi Kristin, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I have always considered myself an artist. As a kid, I was always painting, drawing, and taking art classes in the summer. My mother owned a custom framing shop and art gallery, so I was always surrounded by art and local artists. However, I didn’t consider art as a career, so instead, I chose the graphic design route. I was in the graphic design field for 13 years and during that time, I worked as a digital artist at a photography studio, ran an Etsy shop where I designed and sold prints and stationery goods, did freelance graphic design, and worked as a web developer and graphic designer at a marketing firm.

In 2017, I started painting pet portraits on the side while working full-time. I had no intentions of growing a business at the time – it was a way for me to practice my painting skills that were neglected for most of my 20s. At the time, I sold pet portraits on Etsy with the addition of pet ornaments in the fall of 2018.

In the summer of 2019, I received a request for a house portrait commission. This was both terrifying and exciting! I was pleased with how the portrait turned out, so I decided to add house portraits to my offerings. I started receiving house and pet portrait commissions regularly and began adding art prints to my shop as well.

In June 2020, I went full-time with my art business! With going full time, I was able to build my own website, accept more portrait commissions, and expand my offerings even further. Today, you can find commissions, ornaments, art prints, greeting cards, and other paper goods on my website and in my Etsy shop!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
There has definitely been a lot of trial and error over the years. There have been a couple of commission options that I’ve added to my shop over the years and I either didn’t enjoy doing them as much as I thought or my audience wasn’t a fan, so I removed those from my shop. I’m constantly trying to improve things from my process to my commissions and products, and that requires taking risks and seeing what will work!

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m an artist painting custom watercolor pet and house portraits. My portrait sizes range from 5×7 to 16×20 and portraits are customizable, so you can add your pet’s name or address to your painting if you’d like. I often receive requests to include a pet in a house portrait which I love! I’ll often place a pet on a front lawn or step and it really makes the painting special!

I also have a line of art prints and greeting cards! I have a few select city art prints as well as dog breed and nature-inspired prints. All of my art prints and greeting cards are printed on watercolor textured paper, so they look like an original painting! The artwork in our homes is a reflection of who we are, so I love seeing what people buy whether it be for themselves or for a loved one!

While they are available all year, ornaments are the most popular item in my shop during the holiday season! They are a little different from my other work in that I use acrylic paint instead of watercolor. Ornaments are wooden and feature a pet on the front along with their name and festive garland. The back of the ornament features their tail and festive garland (the back really is the best part)!

The work I am most proud of is my pet and house commissions because they have come so far from when I first started offering them. It’s amazing to look back at my work and see progress over time.

How do you think about happiness?
Hearing my client’s stories and seeing photos of their pets and beautiful homes makes me happy! With each pet commission I receive, I get to hear stories from clients about their beloved pet who they are obsessed with, or their childhood pet that they had for many years, or their pet who recently crossed the rainbow bridge. With these stories come adorable photos of their pet. Checking my email and seeing photos of dogs or cats never gets old!

House portraits are similar. I get to hear stories about childhood homes, grandparent’s homes, or newly bought homes! Last fall, I painted a home from a black and white photo. The home was no longer standing and my client only had a couple of old black and white photos, so I brought the home back to life with watercolor! I’ve also painted a couple of barns that had unique stories behind them. Client stories are the best!


  • Pet & House Portraits start at $95

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