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Do you use a camera? This is a question I am asked rather frequently. Absolutely! Animals do not pose! But that being said, I do not copy or project an image. I use a camera for reference and accuracy, and even inspiration. I have taken anatomy courses, studied animals in the wild, sketched them at the zoo, and taken innumerable workshops and classes. I feel very comfortable moving legs, twitching an ear or tail to create emotion and expression. I have also found that my audience prefers correctness and precise drawing. By utilizing my ability to draw, I can create the scene that I have visualized.
Years ago, when I was a little girl, I would ride my bike to the Hogel Zoo to visit Alice an Asian elephant. I was enthralled with her. I would always share my peanut butter and jelly sandwich with her, thinking to myself that one day I would own an elephant.
Well, I may not own an elephant, but I can certainly draw one. Painting an elephant or in my world today, painting a mule deer, or a coyote, a bobcat, rabbit or burro, gives me the same pleasure I had as a child watching Alice.
I can’t imagine doing a painting without an animal or bird of some sort. It has been a constant theme in my art, and it is foremost in my mind when I start a new painting.
Since, I can’t commandeer Noah’s Ark, I can love animals by painting them; leaving a legacy of their existence and hopefully bringing to the viewer the same joy that I experience painting them.