Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the artist?
My name is Kathryn Beals, and I am a full-time professional artist. I operate Beals Studios with my husband Travis in Mountain View, California. You can read more about us on the Artist page.
Do you offer a guarantee?
Yes! We offer a very flexible return policy with a 100% money back guarantee, so that you can be confident that your portrait will be just as you want it.
Do you ever outsource your commissions?
Never. Unlike some low-cost portrait companies, I never outsource my portraits overseas, or to any other artist for that matter. I handle all orders personally, and I paint all portraits by hand the old-fashioned way. Travis and I are proud to be a "mom and pop" business, and know that you will appreciate the benefits of personal service, a no-hassle guarantee and safe, top quality materials. I only use paints made in the USA.
What are your prices?
Prices for animal portraits start at $210, based on the canvas size. If you don't see the size you want on the Ordering page, just contact us for a quote. Shipping is FREE for all destinations worldwide. We normally ship via FedEx or the United States Postal Service, depending on your location.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept major credit cards and PayPal through our secure online ordering system. You do not have to have a PayPal account to pay online. If you prefer, you can pay via check through the mail, but please allow extra time for the check to clear.
What can I expect during the painting process?
After you submit your photos and payment, Kathryn will start with a sketch, and send you progress photos via email as she works on your painting. You'll be invited to offer your input and suggest adjustments as the painting unfolds. You can read a detailed summary of what to expect and how to get the most out of the process here.
What materials do you use? Why not oil paints?
I paint my animal portraits in premium quality, American-made acrylic paint on professional stretched canvas. I prefer acrylic paint because it is eco-friendly, resilient and non-toxic. Acrylics are much better for the environment and our health than oils, because they are water-based and don't require the use of toxic solvents. Acrylic paints dry quickly to a hard, permanent finish that is durable and has the look and texture of oil paint, but is safe and clean to work with. Acrylics are made with the same pigments found in oil paints--the only difference is the transparent binding medium.
What sort of photo works best?
The best photo for a portrait is clear, high resolution and well-lit, in the pose you would like in the portrait. Read detailed information on portrait-friendly photos in the portrait photo guide.
Can I choose the background?
Yes! Backgrounds work best when they create a mood without detracting from the star of the portrait. Look in the Gallery for examples of backgrounds in dog portraits, or go to the portrait backgrounds page to read about the different options.
Can I put more than one person or animal into the portrait?
Yes! You can add additional animals for an extra fee of $50 per additional animal, or $100 per additional human. If you don't have a photo of both subjects together, you can submit seperate photos of each, plus at least one reference photo of them together (which doesn't have to be good) to show their relative sizes.
Does the painting need to be framed?
It's up to you. A frame is not needed (or recommended) to protect the surface of acrylic paintings under most household conditions. Most of my clients choose not to frame their paintings. I use premium quality gallery wrap canvases with staple-free edges, so my paintings can be displayed attractively without a frame. When the painting is finished, I apply a clear, protective UV finish to my paintings which protects them from dust and light. I include a detailed information sheet on portrait care with all orders.
Do you paint people portraits?
Yes! I consider animal portraits my specialty, but I paint people as well. I have painted commissioned paintings of landscapes, houses, dinosaurs, airplanes, boats, and even a favorite pair of work boots. Paintings tell a much deeper story than photographs ever can, and I enjoy the challenge of working through someone else's memory of a loved animal, person or place. If you like my style and want to commission a painting of something else, please email me to discuss.
Does your business support animal rescue?
Yes! I regularly donate free portraits and gift certificates for animal rescue fundraisers and auctions. You can see a list of my donations in the Charities section.
Is it safe to pay online?
When you order online from Beals Studios, your payment will be processed securely by PayPal, which uses encryption to protect your credit card number and personal information. Beals Studios never handles, sees or stores your credit card number. However, if you prefer, you can send your payment via check, allowing extra time for processing.
We never give or sell your personal information to any third party, and we will not send you unsolicited emails or "spam" of any kind. The only emails you will receive from Beals Studios will be in response to orders or inquiries you have sent.