Tributes paid to ‘talented’ Crufts artist who was well known in Northamptonshire
Although her art mainly focused on animals, Julie Brenan was also commissioned for a portrait of Princess Diana
An artist who painted the winners of Crufts for almost two decades and was well known in Northamptonshire has died.
Julie Brenan, who lived in the county until she moved to take care of her mother, had a fall at her home before passing away in hospital.
The painter, who was in her late 60s when she died, lived in West Haddon and Daventry prior to moving to Wales 17 years ago. She was well known in the area as she often painted portraits of local people’s dogs.
Julie’s art career spanned far and wide and saw her travel to Europe and America, but she was best known for painting the winner of Crufts for 18 consecutive years.
Joyce Gautrey, who was a friend of Julie’s, said: “I met her in the late 1970s through Long Buckby Hockey Club, when she was a sign writer for pub signs.
“She had this talent for painting animals and she went to college to do architectural painting as she often had to paint buildings with the animals.
“We used to hear all about all these lovely adventures from Julie’s time spent painting the winners of Crufts.
“She would stay with the owners for a few days to get to know the dogs, their characteristics, their eyes, that sort of thing.
“There would always be a panic a few weeks before the Crufts painting needed to be finished.
“She’d be up all night painting to finish it in, in true artist style.”
As well as her work with Crufts, Julie was also commissioned to paint a montage for Battersea Dogs Home.
When she went to the home, she took with her a small portrait of the Queen, but that was not her only royal painting, as she also created a portrait of Princess Diana.
Despite her hectic career and travel schedule, Julie always tried to play hockey and see her friends when she was in the county.
Joyce added: “Julie was such a jolly woman and there was always something comical going on with her.
“She was such fun, as well as being the clever, talented artist she was.
“Julie was good company, good fun, a lovely lady and we’re all very sad about her passing.
“We’re really sorry that this has happened and we shall miss her.”
Julie’s private family funeral was held last week.
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