Digitizing artwork

| 15 Feb 2012 | 11:27

Love of animals spurs park ranger's creativity WANTAGE — As an animal lover and the owner of five dogs and eight cats, Joyce Ferris knows how special pets are. She understands the importance they play in a family. An avid outdoorswoman, Ferris runs, hikes and even kayaks with her dogs. Her lifelong passion for animals has led her to become a digital artist/photographer specializing in custom pet portraits. Ferris first began photographing wildlife while working as a volunteer for the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and also for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife's Wildlife Conservation Corps. After moving to Wantage with her extensive family of dogs and cats, Ferris soon turned her eye to what was around her and began photographing the county's rural beauty, along with her own animals. Two years ago, she began offering her services to others. She creates artwork from photographs or will arrange a private photo shoot. Prices for her work range from $125 to $230. Natural style A quick check on the Internet will reveal several varieties of commonly used styles among digital artists, such as traditional or pop art, but Ferris says she does not use one particular style. Her approach is to let the subject tell her “what it's supposed to be.” Her goal, then, is to bring out the personality of her subjects. “What works for one animal may not work for another,” she says. She will try different styles, using a variety of techniques and running the photograph through several of the software programs she uses until she has created one she feels is right for the subject. The result is a portrait resembling a work of fine art. Often, people will have a portrait done to immortalize a cherished pet who has died. Ferris says she has had customers who were “moved to tears” after she had captured the spirit of their pet. Ferris, who is a park ranger at Grey Towers in Milford, Pa., also uses her work to help animals in rescue organizations and shelters. Sometimes she partners with an organization and will donate from her proceeds; other times she donates custom portraits. Currently, Ferris is participating in a juried art show called “Animal Art” to benefit the Columbia-Greene Humane Society in Hudson, N.Y. The show began Jan. 21 and will run until March 10. Find out more at www.joyceferris.com.