For this Wilmington mom of seven, a COVID-19 hobby has become a fun business oppawtunity that’s garnered an online following.
With seven children, life can sometimes be “crazy chaotic,” says Wilmington artist Laura Corridori, “but we love it.” She and husband Chris Grenier, whose three boys and four girls range in age from 8 to 21, also share their home with two beagles—puppy Lucy and Lucky, 11.
It’s no surprise, then, that dog lover Corridori is making a splash online with her custom 9-by-12-inch watercolor pet portraits on paper. Here, the artist shares how it all began.
Were Lucky and Lucy the inspiration behind your pet watercolors?
Actually no, to be honest! I know that sounds crazy, but I started doing this over COVID when all my kids were home on Zoom. I was just sitting here in between feeding them 5,000 snacks, and I just started painting at the dining room table.
Are you an artist by trade?
No, I just do this as a hobby. I’ve always liked to draw, but I don’t have any background in that schoolwise. The painting I’d never done before. In 2020, when COVID first started, a friend of mine—her relative had passed away— brought over this giant box of paints and paper, and I was like, ‘Oh, well, that’ll be a fun thing to try,’ so I opened it up one day. I sketched some pictures and then I just started putting watercolor to it, and I love it.
How did you start focusing on pets?
I put my things on social media and people would ask me to. I actually don’t just do pets—I do people and houses and anything, really—but it seems like people just really like to have their pets painted. [I do] probably about two a week.
Is painting your relaxation time?
Yes, it’s like therapy. It’s like meditating. It’s just so relaxing. When [my kids] were all on Zoom during COVID doing classwork, I just kind of sat here, and if they needed help, I would go help. But in between then, I would paint, and they do it with me too. All of my kids are really crafty.
What happens after someone contacts you to commission a portrait?
They’ll send me a picture [on my phone] and I’ll make a rough sketch. With watercolor, it’s really great because you don’t have to be really precise. It’s kind of an art where, from what I’ve been told, it’s admired from afar. So when you’re close up, it kind of looks blurry, but when you’re far away, it looks really good. So I do a rough sketch and use the reference photo looking at my phone, and go from there with the shading and the colors.
Have you painted your own pets?
I haven’t. And it’s funny, I had this on my to-do list. I just haven’t had time because everyone’s been asking me to do theirs! I started one of Lucy the puppy, but I haven’t gotten around to finishing it.
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