Tuesday, April 26, 2011

So why do you paint animals?

Kitty on a Tractor


8x10 inch watercolor and prismacolor pencils

This past Easter, I was hanging out at my parents house. A lovely time, had brunch at the Georgetown Country Club with my parents and brothers and then later did some horseback riding. I spent the rest of the afternoon at my folks....

A while ago I did a painting for my dad of the Gate A entrance to Fenway Park. I used someone else's photo, hence the reason why you won't see it here. But my dad, God Bless him, was looking at it on Easter (it hangs on the wall with all the other paintings that I've done for him) and says "You know Chris, I really like this painting." and my mom chirps in " Yeah, you should do more paintings of Fenway and sell them!"


I know they mean well, and every one around me would love to see me succeed. The fact is, I paint animals. I like to paint things from nature as well and have been trying different mediums as well. But it's true, I love the personality that comes through in each painting of the animal. Who knows you better than your dog? No one. Who loves you more than your cat? Well, maybe your spouse might... but.. When I meet with a client who just lost their beloved dog or cat and knowing that I can mortalize that relationship somehow with a portrait, it makes me feel better. It allows me to connect with person with my art.

I've always loved animals. Growing up I had horses, dogs and cats. The occasional mouse, gerbil and parakeet were thrown in the mix too. Ask my 2 brothers or my sister (who has 4 cats of her own - all rescues!) how my house was growing up. When I drew as a kid, it was always animals. Later on when in art school and during the high tide of censorship (marched in DC when they pulled the Maplethorpe exhibit out of the Corcoran Gallery of Art), there was so much going on with SHOCKING people. (remember "Piss Christ"?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piss_Christ) It seemed in my 18 year old eyes that people were loosing what art was and what it supposed to be and spending more time just shocking people. Especially my class mates at school.

What is art? I believe that a successful piece of art is something that you can look at, it evokes an emotion inside of you, you walk away.....sometimes the emotion is so strong, you need to go back and look at it again. Now, if you know me personally, I'm never one who goes out of their way to piss someone off, or disgust them. More, like a person who wants to cheer you up or make you laugh...

I continued to paint things that I loved. Blooming trees off the rooftop of my dorm, still lifes with flowers and .. animals. You can do so much emotion with those big brown eyes. I love creating a flowing mane or Collie's ruff with watercolor brushes. I love the wrinkles on a pug's head. Cat's eyes: I could go on forever.

Animal art has been around for ages. Royalty used to have their dog's portraits painted all the time. And your animals are such comfort givers, I believe that the art can do the same. So I will continue to paint animals. Enter contests, shows and continue to be a part of something that has been around since the 16th century.

Sorry mom.

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