Memories for the Holidays

If you have ever lost a loved one, you know the holidays can be especially difficult. Whether it’s a lost pet or a beloved sister, mother, brother or cousin, holiday gatherings and memories around traditions can make the losses more poignant.

grace-wideHoliday ornaments help provide that touch of the loved one during these painful moments. They aren’t just for Christmas trees or any one specific holiday. Ornaments can be hung from holders like this one, or from cup hooks, jewelry trees, or simply hung from a pretty ribbon in a window.


Each portrait ornament is painted on a four-inch round, half-inch thick, ceramic bisque-finished round ornament. They are substantial and relatively durable (though definitely still breakable). After painting, they are sealed to reduce the effects of time and wear on the acrylic. I still recommend you store and display them with care.

I hand paint every ornament from a photo you provide me, or from various reference photos I already have, if you cannot provide me with one. Pets are $50 each, and humans are $100 each. I can do other custom ornaments for $50-75 depending on the subject.

If you are interested in a portrait ornament, email me at

Browse through some of the other – primarily parrot – portrait ornaments below:


This leather coffee table book of Janet Bray prints will make you want to fill it fast!

Now you can collect the 5×7 prints I have available in a gorgeous, leatherbound coffee table book. Select up to 20 of my prints to place inside, each of them held in place with corners that make them easy to remove and frame, and replace when you want to change your theme.  Additional pages are available for $5 each.

Leather_Portfolio_Outside This is a beautiful way to showcase your favorites, and add new ones inexpensively. Its beautiful tooling and handcrafted cover makes a statement on your coffee table.

Leather_Portfolio_Inside_RhinoEach print is labeled by the artist.

Fill it with botanical, food, landscape, photos, whatever you like, up to twenty different images.

Professional looking corners and a small three ring binder style closure makes it easy to add and remove, reorder or frame the 5×7 prints inside.

Beautiful accents really make the difference with this lovely coffee table book.

Click here to buy this one of a kind Janet Bray Art Coffee Table Book

A large scale painting of a stampede of zebras by Janet Bray

Obvious Questions 101: Where do you get your inspiration?

Artists get asked the same questions a lot. The idea is that you want to be able to understand how we can live in the same world as you and see things differently enough to make something beautiful where you saw mundane. You want us to package it up so that you can see the shape and nature of this gift.

I hate to burst your bubble (#sorrynotsorry, popping bubbles is fun) but that’s not an actual thing. As if we know ourselves well enough to articulate that? Most of us have no idea what it looks like either. I know I sure don’t. Some days, I am as mystified by what comes out of my brushes as you are!

The truth is, sometimes I have inspiration so strong I see a painting fully formed, to the last detail, in my head in a flash. I have no idea why. Or where it comes from. Maybe it’s all the blasted nature documentaries I’ve watched. Maybe it’s because animals are less of a mystery to me than people, and so easier to relate to.

My zebra painting came to me in this way:

A large scale painting of a stampede of zebras by Janet Bray

I was planning my Safari Series, and I knew zebras were going to be heavily featured, because I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and they are the mascot of this genetic condition. In a way, this painting represents to me what it’s like to feel like a zebra with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. We deal with one injury/problem after another. Dealing with it is kind of like running scared and panicked all the time, because so few doctors know enough about it to do much of anything. We feel crowded – 0.2-1% of the population is estimated to have it and 95% have not been diagnosed or treated – and always on the run from something we can’t really clearly see (thus the dust). Our predator is poorly understood, underfunded, and undersupported in the medical community.

Sometimes I feel an intense connection to a species, like my Eleanora, because of their compassion and intelligence. I feel a bond with them because of their development of very strong relationships with their family members and herd.  Elephants have been known to mourn their dead, feel compassion for other animals, and even respect other dead elephants they probably didn’t even know. This is something I find lacking in the human community and find solace that it exists in the animal kingdom.

“Eleanora” Acrylic on Canvas
Buy This Original Painting
Buy This Print

As with my elephant, I was moved to show the majesty and intimidation along with gentleness and love. These beautiful beasts are preyed on for their tusks and as prizes to be hunted, but the awful truth is they are compassionate and loving animals who deserve to be left alone to live their lives, just like us. I hope that bringing attention to their lovely stature that I can help shed some light on their plight as well.

Inspiration comes from many places, but for me it comes often from the natural world. Colors, emotions, stories, hope, love, shapes and light… they all inspire me.

I hope my work inspires you, too.

Please visit my Etsy Store at to buy originals (both of these are still available) or prints.

Or if you prefer, you can become a benefactor with my Patreon.

How to Help Without Buying Art

Do you want to support me, but have a houseful of my art already? Perhaps you are more into abstracts, dark pieces, or just don’t have room for my work?

Most artists have a difficult time making a living. We all need benefactors of all types in order to achieve our goals. Art is a community project, and if you don’t have artistic talent, you can support it in many ways:

  • Buy original or prints from an artist instead of from big chain stores
  • Share, like, and comment on social media – it helps artists get seen by other people
  • Subscribe to their Patreon
  • Send them art supplies and gift cards
  • Send them coupons for art supplies
  • Tell others about their work

If you are interested in subscribing to my Patreon account and helping me achieve my goals, you will be helping me pay my bills, buy art supplies, buy show supplies, pay show fees, pay entry fees, hire someone to help me with my shows, and other art related stuff.

There are even rewards for different giving levels. For more information, visit my Patreon Page

Click here to become a benefactor for whatever monthly amount you choose

Life As An Artist

It can be sometimes difficult for non artists to understand why we often sacrifice so much to be an artist. After all, our lives are rarely stable without outside employment, and yet we have to have resources to buy art supplies. Almost never does the cost of a painting cover the costs and time involved. Not to mention the years of experience that went into creating the composition, technique, experimentation and inspiration. We almost never get out of painting monetarily what we put into it.

So why do we paint, then? Why do we choose to experience life from a less than stable perspective just so we can paint?

It’s not really a choice.

It’s a calling.

janet-bray-painting-eleanoraFor me, it’s that when that paintbrush touches canvas, magic flows.  Comfort appears on the canvas in thin layer after thin layer. Emotional expression builds up in the form of whatever is inspiring me at the moment. Attention to detail gives me something for my overactive mind to focus on. Research of the animal, plant, or landscape gives me pleasure, and recreating its best moments gives me a sense of accomplishment. I empathize with my subject – even landscapes. I feel their energies, the sense of being them, and putting it to canvas gives me a distinct joy that I have never found in anything else.

Often when I paint, I turn on my favorite playlist full of songs that uplift me, inspire me and to which I inevitably know all the words. I sing as I paint, and sometimes I take breaks to play piano. The fullness of all this creativity gives me something I cannot achieve in any other way. It’s my own little whirlwind of an upward spiral. Creativity begets more creativity.

When I am deeply engaged in painting, I often forget to eat. I move around constantly because my broken body demands I do not sit still for long lest I turn to stone in that position. I hyperfocus on what I’m doing, and often I miss or ignore phone calls, texts, emails and anything else that isn’t contributing to the creativity.

What comes out the other end are pieces I’m usually pretty proud of.

I don’t require much. In the last six months my entire world has been turned upside down and stomped on – separation of a very long marriage, new home, new world view, new job, another new job, drama from all of the above, a serious car accident (not my fault!) and the resulting injuries and extra work resulting from the claims and litigation… my health has taken a beating and I am struggling with keeping up with all the life changes. But I don’t need much else aside from my animals (2 cats and a parrot) and a few good friends.

And my art.

Always my art. It is my therapist. My lover. My best friend and my worst enemy. My contrast of joy and the vehicle of pain. It focuses me and diffuses me. It preaches to me and gives me peace. It is the experience of reflecting, not creating. It is the communion I experience with the natural world around me, and the expression of how that feels as it flows through me.

This is why. This is the reason we suffer. This is why we deal with substandard wages and sometimes living conditions. It is beyond us to do anything else. It is everything.