A passion for pets, a love of art

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas 

Art is a way to people’s hearts and Lauren McDonough, a WHS junior, touches many with her work. 

McDonough is a talented artist and successful business owner. At just 17 years old, McDonough, a student, athlete, daughter and friend, uses her gift to create lifelike pet portraits for clients throughout New Jersey through her business L.A.M. Pet Portraits. 

 L.A.M. Pet Portraits was established in 2019 when McDonough’s art teacher encouraged her passion for painting by suggesting she start selling her work. Hesitant, but excited by the prospect of being paid for something she already loved doing, McDonough sold her first portrait during her freshman year of high school. After seeing her client’s reaction to her work, McDonough knew that creating images that moved people was something she wanted to continue doing.

 It warms her heart “to be told that [she] helped bring life to a person’s late pet and comfort to the grieving owner.” McDonough, a pet lover but not an owner herself, uses her talent to create something meaningful. While she has the skill set to paint people and landscapes, she has always been drawn to painting animals, especially taking care with portraying realistic eyes that speak to the owners. 

Painting such detailed portraits requires diligence and expertise. Although each commission takes McDonough three to five hours to complete, McDonough states that “time disappears while [she] paints.” The aroma of fresh paint, a new canvas and a paintbrush in hand brings comfort to McDonough.

Despite the fact that McDonough does not yet know what career she wants to pursue, she is certain that art will be a part of her future. This young dedicated artist and entrepreneur knows she “will always be doing art as a side hustle.” 

Being involved in art since she was a toddler, McDonough now shares her skill with others. McDonough recently began teaching children’s art classes at South Avenue Arts in Garwood, NJ, where she can be found inspiring other young artists to follow their dreams.

Check her out on her website and flip through the slideshow below of her artwork.