Creating Lasting Memories

Not only does Leah Knecht cement memories in her incredible portraits, her clients also leaving lasting impressions

Friday, February 6, 2015 | 9:23 pm

Leah Knecht comes as a blessing to those who treat their pets as family. This award-winning and classically-trained artist and owner of Classic Pet Portraits creates commissioned portraits of beloved pets. Her dedication to accurately portraying her subjects true personalities sets her works apart.

Using the time-tested techniques of the Old Masters of the Renaissance, Knecht makes each portrait as life-like as possible, immortalizing your pet.

Painting and capturing the personality of each pet is a heartwarming, at times heartbreaking, venture for Knecht. She has met clients whose stories and love for their pets inspire her so much. One of them is Mary Ann and her pets Ginger and Gilligan. “Immediately I knew she was cool,” she said.

“She wanted to commission a painting for her husband as a surprise Christmas present. Their two dogs, Ginger and Gilligan were best friends. They were always together and she had a photo she just loved with them,” Knecht related. “But it was a really, really bad photo. I [couldn’t make out] their faces, it was just really blurry and small and so I said, ‘Well, Mary Ann, I would love to help you but do you have other photos of their faces?’ What she did was she took a whole bunch of photos so she could give me a better idea of what they look like.”

“So it was a real collaboration, I would have to say,” Knecht said.

A couple of weeks after, Knecht received an email from the husband who had finally received the portrait of Ginger and Gilligan from Mary Ann. “[All this time] she never told me that the dog didn’t have long to live, and so when the husband received it, he was overwhelmed. After that she emailed me back when Ginger passed away and she said, ‘We missed her very much but when we look at the painting everyday she’s still with us.’”

Another unforgettable client for Knecht was a mother-and-daughter team who had rescued a dog and nursed it back to health. But the dog had been through so much abuse and trauma that it eventually died of a heartworm disease.

The daughter collaborated with Knecht in making the portrait of her beloved pet. “The daughter really wanted specific things like she wanted the oil on panel instead of canvas and she wanted the dog on her bed with her favorite toy to look comfortable. She was just so thrilled,” Knecht said.

This experience has made the daughter want to become a veterinarian, a thought that has touched Knecht to the core. “She is going to become a veterinarian and will have this portrait forever,” Knecht said.

“I will never forget that portrait.”

For more information on Classic Pet Portraits, call (626) 644-8081 or visit


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