Animals have always been among my closest allies. Family dogs sat guided me through childhood. Horses gave me a taste of independence, and proved to be fine artistic inspiration. Like so many other horse girls, I drew them on every available surface. My first feline companions head-butted me into responsible adulthood and quickly became my creative muses. I owe a huge debt to the kindness of these animals.
I successfully portrayed eagles and grizzly bears long before I created a convincing paper cat. Perhaps felines eluded me because of their familiarity, but I was more likely daunted by the need to get them absolutely right, to capture their complexity of pattern and clarity of gaze. A few years ago, I finally got it, and now I can’t stop. When I receive a commission, I am sometimes lucky enough to meet the cat in person. If I work with a photograph, I spend hours studying it before beginning initial sketches. Although I now have a predictable process, there is always an anxious moment when I wonder if the various pieces on my drafting table will come together in a portrait. And then, with the final details of whiskers and eye gleams, the cat comes alive.
Oh yes, I create paper dogs, and rabbits, birds, horses, and have even made a fish or two. I ask my clients a lot of seemingly unrelated questions before starting commissions. I learn as much as possible about the animal’s personality and preferences, and about the physical qualities of their shared household. Sometimes the color of a wall or a detail from a carpet turns up in the background. Other times, I create a paper quilt to hold the interest of both subject and viewer. I understand this three-way collaboration as a way for artist, client, and animal to work together. What a privilege it is for me to participate!
I currently show my collage art at the Gallery at Town Center in Lake Forest Park. I welcome commission work. For more information on commissioning a personalized collage, visit the Order page. To see more artwork, visit my Collage Porfolio.