By William Lailey
A woman cured her lockdown boredom by painting 17th century portraits of pets.
Maira Barriga, from Brooklyn, New York, started creating her quirky 17th century paintings of pets as the pandemic hit and she was left with more time on her hands.
The 33-year-old was first inspired by her own dog, Hachi, after looking at him one day and deciding she wanted to make a funny portrait of him.
Maira, who is a model and dancer, says she loved to paint as a child but had never revisited her hobby until she was out of work due to the pandemic and had plenty of spare time on her hands.
She added: “I used to get in trouble at school because I would be sketching on my notebook and not paying attention to class, but that’s the most painting I did before my portraits.
“When the pandemic hit last year around March, things started to shut down and I was out of work.
“I had a lot of time on my hands while I was sitting at home and too scared to go out, so I decided I would start painting.
“I didn’t know what to paint at first, but then I looked at my dog and I thought I want to make a funny portrait of him.
“At first it was a mess. I didn’t know what I was doing, so I probably spent about 100 hours trying to paint him.”
After practising and perfecting her skills, Maira’s family and friends wanted her to paint her signature portraits of their pets dressed up too, and she is now even taking commissions for people across the world.
She receives pictures of her client’s pets and discusses their personalities with them so that she can capture them perfectly and ensure the outfit in the portraits suits their personality.
She said: “I ask my clients if they have an idea or a character they want their pet to be. We all fantasize our pets being a human with certain personalities, right?
“Some people will leave it up to me to dress them based on their look and then I start painting.
“It depends on the size of the canvas and the complexity of their outfits but each painting can take me anywhere from 20 to 50 hours which works out at around one to two weeks. The largest painting I’ve done, which was 30 by 40 inches, took me about a month to complete.
“It’s so much fun to create these paintings for peoples pets and bring them to life in human form.”