Finding peace in the trusting paws of a dog is one thing, but taking it a step further by merging one’s love for dogs with their passion for art and creativity brings to light a form of love that’s no short of enviable.
It’s what we would imagine is a truly fulfilling task. And the gleaming smile on Sarah Milroy Thompson’s face corroborates the true nature of bonding between people and their canine friends.
An artist by trade, Sarah, 33, comes from what she says is a ‘creative family’. Perhaps that’s what motivated the Scotswoman to pursue fine arts; and much less, create waves with her paintings – mostly realistic renditions with a colourful twist of those in the animal kingdom.
But her work reflects thousands of hours of practice and training. She tells Y: “I find peace and meditation whenever I am drawing. I use my skills to tutor others as well as assist with other peoples’ creative journeys and projects.
“I hope my work inspires others and put smiles on their faces.”
Though she brings to life art with her acrylic paints, Sarah says that she is a mixed-media artist – using black and white fine pens, and pencils for more intricate drawings.
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“I believe art is for evoking memories – both good and bad,” adds Sarah, who has a diploma in art and design from the Cumbria Institute of the Arts in England, and a bachelor of honors in textile and surface design from Gray’s School of Art.
Perhaps this is what laid the foundation for what she calls a ‘pet portrait business’ – Paperhounds. She explains: “[It began when] a friend asked me to paint his dogs for his partner as a birthday gift.
“I liked the process, but more importantly, loved the reaction the painting received as I know how important pets are to their owners.
“Through word of mouth, more people started to ask me to paint their loved ones’ pets, and I decided to create Paperhounds to give myself a platform and establish an online portfolio.”
Not restricting herself to paintings of dogs – though she has somewhere between 60 and 80 paintings of dogs – Sarah points out that she has also worked on portraits of people and cats, and even paintings of Omani architecture.
Some of these, as per the artist, have been sent internationally or delivered locally, aside from what she crafts in her free time for ‘self-practice’ and ‘professional development’.
Her Instagram page now receives positive feedback daily from all around the world. It has also allowed her to reach out to customers from regions in America and all over Europe.
She tells us that she has also posted out portraits to famous celebrities based out of Hollywood.
Whether it’s the colours that bring out life in her portraits or her love for all things living is hard to determine; but Sarah has used her reach to raise awareness among local communities in Oman to help and protect wadi dogs.
She tells us: “I can only speak from my experience, and from what I have witnessed, I think the relationship many have with wadi dogs isn’t a positive one; there seems to be a bad cycle where there is a lot of fear. Some of these dogs are unfairly treated, and in defense, the dogs react.
“This cycle will continue until the opinions, reactions, behaviour and experiences changes. When dogs are introduced into the community and there are fewer restrictions, dogs naturally become more socialised, relaxed and used to human contact and interaction.
“This could be a hugely positive thing for the future of local dogs here in Muscat. Wadi dogs are incredibly unique. In fact, I have never met such loyal dogs who are so overjoyed when humans show them love and support, and food of course,” she exclaims.
“They are intelligent and easy to train too. I rescued my wadi dog, Emily, two years ago and she has become my little companion,” a proud Sarah tells.
Having made her move to Oman three years ago, Sarah has also expanded her work portfolio into paintings of Omani-inspired buildings and designs; standing as a proud patron of the local culture and heritage.
So, she has begun recording Omani architecture – mostly those that have stood the tests of time – through her photography.
“I regularly travel around Oman, and one of my favourite things to do is walk around the older areas, like Muttrah and Sidab, keenly observing buildings around me.
“I use this as my main inspiration. I am drawn to colours, patterns, and details that can sometimes go unnoticed.
“I love to capture the raw beauty of Oman. I also experiment a lot with colours and have produced some eye-catching work that has been selling as prints throughout Muscat.”
It’s safe to say that while Sarah lives for art, Oman has also made a thorough impression in her life and work. As she proclaims: “I am very self-motivated; and this most I have ever been since graduating.”