Hi! I am so glad you stopped by to find out more about me and my art.I’m a self taught folk-realist Animal Painter that just happened to go to art school (I received a BA from Stetson University in Deland, Florida in 1978). My art is mostly about companion animals and Virginia Country Life. It is not unusual in my work to see glimpses of relationships between domesticated pets and wildlife.
I have learned much from the animals that have blessed my life. My first love has always been horses. I actually started drawing horses in 1960, when I was a child. My dad’s work was such that we moved a lot, so I couldn’t have a pony like most of my friends, at the time. Drawing helped to feed my imagination and my longing for a horse of my own. From Horses, pet chickens, sheep and ducks, to goldfish, cats, and dogs and of course my rabbits, I havelearned so much from them. The animal who has taught me the most is my boy cat, Nikki. Through his many real life adventures he has inspired my imagination in the last 14 years.One such adventure happend when Nikki was young (He will be 16 in August 2009). There was a stand of old hemlock trees behind where I lived with Nikkia then. Every morning, at the same time, I would hear the crows calling outside in the hemlock trees behind my little house. Nikki would then go to the back door and just stand there looking at me. If I didn’t let him out, he would go over and stand on the radio. He would turn it on and off with his foot, until I let him outdoors. It took me a few times before I realized what was really going on.
As it turned out,unbeknown to me, a pod of deer, consisting of a buck, four does and various offsprings, lived in the stand of hemlocks. The huge trees had grown so close together over the years, that they made an area almost as snug and dry as any barn in winter. When deer were ready to go graze each morning, the crows living above them in the trees would announce it. Nikki then knew it was his cue to go out.
One morning, as I let Nikki out, I looked up. Two fawns were standing there looking at us. They were waiting for Nikki. Much to my surprise Nikki walked right up and greeted them like old friends. Then off they all went toward the old apple orchard. Nikki would play with the babies. He also hunted mice as the older deer grazed through the tall orchard grass. When it was time to bed down for the night, back they would all come. Nikki would push on the screen door with his front paw, knocking to be let in. This was Nikki's routine for the 5 years we lived there.
I spent many hours observing Nikki and the deer, as well as other animals that lived on the surrounding farms. Many of the ideas for my art come from hours of interaction and observation, especially between domestic and wild animals that just happen to pass through my life experience. Quite often, when working on a painting or commission; because, I have only a collection of photography to work from, I have to be very imaginative, inventive and very empathic when creating the unique work of art. My 35 years of observing animals has helped immensely in painting unique works that people can relate to their lives. This is especially important when I am painting pet portraits of beloved pets that lived, died, and left a legacy of devotion to their owners, long before I began the paintings.
I also take great delight in meeting people’s animals and relating to them on a personal level. After so many years of being around horses and pets, I am able, a lot of times, to read their faces and their attitudes. I work very hard at capturing that special quality that makes them a unique blessing to their owners.When the owners say: “that looks just like him!” or “I just love it. I’ve seen that look on her face so many times.” It gives me great joy to know that I have given them more than they expected.
One Woman took a look at the portrait I painted of her favorite show horse and just broke down crying. It was like at that very moment she realized how much she loved that animal. She smiled and gave me a big hug. “Now, I will have something to remember him by when he is gone.” It gives me such a sense of accomplishment to know that I’ve given the owners of the animals I paint such a wonderful tangible memento that will last long after the animal has passed.I truly believe that God brings to us the companion animal we need. Each animal is perfect for our personality and circumstances. We might think we choose to make an impact on their lives, but really it is our lives they impact. To be able to use my talent to help pass on that legacy to another person is my privilege as an animal portrait painter. If you are looking for an artist who takes a special interest in capturing an animal’s unique personality and understands the unique bond between someone and their cherished pet, I would love to speak with you to discuss the possibility of creating a special portrait for you.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to include your phone number and what the best times may be to contact you so we can discuss what may be involved in creating a portrait that you will be proud of and happy with.
Linda L. Martin - Artist