Edmonton Entrepreneur Spotlight: Jacilyn Blackwood of Hello Sunshine
As a pet parent, you can never really have too many photos of your loved ones, your furbabies! If you have a dog walker in Edmonton, or if your pet goes to doggy daycare, the number of photos you have in your pet album just tripled. Meanwhile, displaying 100’s or even the 1000’s of pictures you have of your pets may be a challenge, our next guest creates a way to incorporate all of your favourite photos in one beautiful piece of art.
Jacilyn Blackwood is the artist behind Hello Sunshine. She creates beautiful watercolour paintings of pets that embody their personality, quirks, and energy. Clients have Jacilyn capture their pets for many occasions, but many have these creations made in celebration and memory of their beloved pets. Join us as we get to know her!
DJ: Tell us a little bit about yourself
JB: My name is Jacilyn, and I am the artist behind Hello Sunshine. I am a huge animal lover, creative human and enjoy exploring in nature as much as I can with my dog, Benny. I moved to Edmonton a year ago from Calgary and it’s been a really greatest experience so far.
DJ: How did you get started?
JB: I’m a graduate of the Alberta College of Art & Design, and I’ve been painting since I can remember. I am a big handmade gifter, so the best gift I could give the people I love has always been a painting. I started painting pet portraits for friends and family, and I always received the best reactions, so I decided to create Hello Sunshine. I made some posters and put them up around my neighbourhood, started an Instagram account, and was accepted into the Royal Bison arts and crafts market and it’s been growing ever since! It’s the most rewarding job I could ask for. I’ve always wanted to work with animals and to paint, I’ve got the best of both worlds.
DJ: How did you come up with the name for your business?
JB: I always say “Hello Sunshine” to my animals in the morning, it’s what they are in my life, rays of sunshine. They are the best part of my day and I want to connect with people who feel the same.
DJ: Is this your full-time gig?
JB: I would love it to be, I am also a Public Art consultant.
DJ: What are some of the philosophies of/or inspirations for your business?
JB: My animals are certainly my biggest inspiration for this business, I have so many paintings of them. They have taught me about adversity, empathy, trauma, body language, love… they’ve made me so much more aware of other people and other animals’ behaviour and personalities. We can learn from them and become better humans, how can you not be inspired by them? The love of an animal is eternal, they live on with us forever. I paint these animals so that those memories, lessons, and love will live on with you. My hope is that if you’re having a terrible day and you look up and see a painting of Rex, you’ll be reminded of the good in your life.
DJ: Can you tell us a bit about your process?
JB: My work begins with an email from my client, telling me about their animal – I look at it like a dating profile, tell me what you love most about your pet/pets and then let me know a little bit about your style and what you’d like to see incorporated into the painting. This is the piece that gets me excited, hearing the love stories is the best part and makes these paintings what they are. Then you send me some photos and I choose the best ones to work from. I get painting and contact the client when it’s finished to arrange delivery or ship it in the mail. If I’m lucky, I’ll deliver and maybe get to meet whoever I painted!
DJ: What is your favourite tool in your craft?
JB: My hands!
DJ: What is your favourite part of working with your clients?
JB: The wonderful stories I hear about the animals in their life. It’s so special to connect with people who share such a deep connection with their pets. It makes me feel good knowing that these people exist, it gives me hope.
DJ: How can people find you? What are your social media handles?
JB: You can find me at www.jacilynblackwood.com and on Instagram @hellosunshinepetportraits
DJ: Tell us about your pets.
JB: I have Wiley, she is a beautiful grey cat with a ton of character. I think she may be a bit of a Norwegian forest cat. Her name suits her perfectly, she is the most chatty love bug, but gets anxious quite easily by lots of commotion. I have had her for 6+ years. I also have Benny, my big baby. He is 3 years old and my guess is he might be a Shepard/Lab/Ridgeback. Benny roamed the wilderness for the first year of his life and I can only guess what he experienced based on his behaviour and the condition I brought him home in. He loves to go for car rides but howls the entire time, I’m sure it’s entertaining to those driving behind us. If you kneel down to pet him, he sits on your lap almost immediately- regardless is you’re 3 years old or 70. He thinks coyotes are his friends and on all but one occasion, they were. He’s very independent but also incredibly loyal to me.
DJ: What are your favourite activities to do with your pet?
JB: Wiley loves to dance around the living room, hanging over my shoulder purring. Benny and I explore new places together, I love going for big long nature walks with him. My favorite thing about Benny is the extra energy he sometimes needs to burn when we get home from a walk, he immediately needs to go to the backyard to run laps and growl and act like a wild man. It’s very entertaining. I also enjoy trying to get into my bed with both of them sprawled out in all directions. Wouldn’t trade them for anything!
We hope that you enjoyed getting to know Jacilyn as much as we did! She is truly a warm heart with such talent. Her beautiful pet portraits have given and continue to allow families a way to help remember and celebrate their beloved fur family members. We also appreciate Jacilyn taking the time out of her schedule to hang out with us and cannot wait to work with her in the future!
Is there a pet-related small business that you think should be featured or want to learn more about from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert or surrounding area? Drop us a line and let us know!