Hi! I am glad you stopped by to find out more about me and my art.Iím 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 to see interactions in my work between domesticated pets and wildlife.
Iíve 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 dadís work was such that we moved a lot, so I couldnít 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, Iíve learned so much from them. The one who has taught me the most and pricked my imagination in the last 14 years is my boy cat, Nikki.When Nikki was young (He will be 16 in August 2009), every morning at the same time, I would hear the crows calling out side in the hemlock trees behind my little house. Nikki would go to the back door and just stand there looking at me. If I didnít let him out he would go over and stand on the radio and turn it on and off with his foot. It took me a few times before I realized what was really going on.
In my first apartment after college, there was a stand of hemlock trees not 20 feet from my back door. They had been planted in the 1950's to protect the house from the cold north winds in winter. A pod of deer, consisting of a buck, four does and various off springs lived in the stand of hemlocks. The huge trees had grown so close to gether that they made an area almost as snug and dry as any barn in winter. When deer were ready to go graze in the morning, the crows living above them in the trees would announce it.
One morning, as I let Nikki out, I looked up, and two fawns were standing there looking at the door. Nikki walked right up and greeted them like old friends. Then off they all went toward the old apple orchard. He 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.
Many of the ideas for my art come from hours of interaction and observation, especially between domestic and wild animals that just happen to be there like with Nikki and the deer. Quite often, when working on a painting or commission, I have only a collection of photography to work from. I have to be very imaginative, very inventive and very empathic when working from photographs. My 35 years of observing animal behavior helps immensely. 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 peopleís animals and relating to them on a personal level, as well. 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 in capturing that special quality that makes them a unique blessing to their owners.When the owners say: ďthat looks just like him!Ē or ďI just love it. Iíve seen that look on her face so many times.Ē 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. ďNow I will have something to remember him by when he is gone.Ē It gives me such a sense of accomplishment to know that Iíve 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, just 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 animalís unique personality and understands the unique bond between someone and their cherished companion, 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