This week we are delighted to introduce you to Melissa Benzinger McGlynn of Dancing Vulture Designs. This "selt-taught artist and self-proclaimed swamp hermit" from Northern Pennsylvania creates soft sculptures, art dolls and other works of art depicting local wildlife. A bit of realism, whimsy and a whole lot of talent are infused into each of her unique creations.
I am primarily a fiber artist and utilize the process of needle-felting. I also sculpt with polymer and epoxy clay, and paint my own pieces. Sometimes I also enjoy woodburning on found pieces of wood, and etching in marble. If I can get my hands on something, chances are I'll try making something with it!
While “Dancing Vulture Designs” has only existed since late 2013, I've been creating art my whole life. When I was in middle school, I wanted to pursue comics and animation. Financial troubles kept me from pursuing art college, so after I graduated high school, I decided to try learning more art skills and mediums on my own. It wasn't until 2012 that I finally found myself drawn towards the wildlife of the Poconos, and started sculpting miniatures of them in polymer clay. In 2013 I found needle-felting, and it's been a match made in heaven since then!
I am most inspired to create the local wildlife in my area. As a resident of the Pocono Mountains of northeast Pennsylvania, I'm always surrounded by wildlife. During some dark times in my life, it was actually the turkey vulture that first inspired me into creating animal art after a series of dreams about them and finding two of their massive flight feathers on my property. They're the reason behind my name, “Dancing Vulture Designs”! It was all I could do to not run off into the woods after that! There are so many beautiful neighbors right at my backyard feeders alone. My father and I watch the hawks migrate in autumn from open cliff faces, find our local owls in March, and witness timberdoodles do their mating displays in early April. There's always something exciting to watch in the natural world, and I want my work to convey that joy and fascination of seeing an animal in the wild for the first time.
It's so hard to get my thoughts into one-word answers, but I'll try! Teachers, soul-mates, neighbors, inspiring... I've always felt that animals have a lot to teach us, especially in terms of coping with our overly complicated human society. They remind us that sometimes we get too wrapped up in things that just are not important. Sometimes we just need to forget the stress of everyday life and focus on being with our loved ones, chowing down, taking a good nap, and having fun whenever possible. As someone who has struggled with anxiety, these are all things that I look to our natural world to remind me of constantly.
I had my best friend and art buddy, a cat named Trunks. He sadly passed away in 2015 and I have simply been tending to the backyard birds and my aloe plants since. I miss him every day. Trunks was the best cat a fiber artist could ask for. He only liked playing with the wool while it was still just roving, and never laid a paw on my finished soft sculptures!
I've been involved with a few charities, mostly by donating little felted critters for them to auction or raffle off. I absolutely love seeing my work go off to help such amazing causes.
The Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is an amazing center that helps raise wildlife awareness and rehabilitates our injured neighbors. Every year they hold an open house to show off their hard work and the animals who are in their care. This will be the second year I'll be selling my fuzzies at their event in June and donating a portion of the proceeds to the center, along with donating a fuzzy for their fundraiser.
The Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network is a rescue network for cairn terriers! Pets in need are so important, and they need our help.
Billy's New Hope Barn is a local shelter for injured and abandoned farm animals to settle down and live peacefully. These folks do an amazing job and pour all of their love and energy into their herd of rescues.
You can see more of Melissa and her "Dancing Vulture Designs" by clicking on the following links:
Bird lovers unite! We've got some great Outlaw Owl goodies just for you!
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This week’s featured artist, Monica Martino of Yankee Dime, once made her living as a TV producer specializing in extreme adventure reality shows such as “Deadliest Catch,” “Whale Wars,” and “Storm Chasers.” A serious accident while filming one of the shows led her to discover her love of art. The accident may have been painful at the time, but it certainly didn’t kill her spirit which can be seen in her bright, colorful and whimsical animal inspired art.
I think that an endless fascination in the natural world infuses the spirit and sparks the creativity of every artist. I love envisioning the secret lives of the animals that go about their business outside my window, especially the squirrels, chipmunks, birds, dogs, cats, chickens, and bunnies. Being a TV producer, I can’t help but make up little stories for them in my head and create whole episodes based around their actions. Maybe some day I’ll pitch a reality show called “Squirrels Gone Wild” which will all take place in my backyard! I also feel so lucky that I get to “meet” people’s dogs through the commissions I do! I’m always asking my clients to send me anecdotes so that I can learn about the dog’s personality before I start painting a portrait.
Dog rescue has always been a cause that is very close to my heart. In 2011, while filming in Detroit, I saw firsthand how terrible the stray dog problem is. I founded a rescue called Detroit Dog Rescue to try and help, and I’m proud to say that it is now Detroit’s first and only no-kill shelter.
I work in watercolor, gouache, marker, pen and ink.
We currently have a snaggletoothed rescue dog named Magnolia Blossom and I can’t imagine life without her. I have always had shelter dogs and always will!
I have been painting seriously for about two years now. I used to love to paint in high school, but walked away from it for many years. In 2012 I was seriously injured in a boat accident in the Amazon while I was filming a History Channel show. The recovery process was difficult and I went through two years of surgeries, lawsuits (the company I worked for was horribly negligent), PTSD, pain and fear. We spent all of my savings and more.Those were truly some of the darkest days of my life but the one bright spot was art. I started drawing again, and I soon fell back in love with the creative process. I didn’t know how badly I had been missing it for 20 years! I opened up my Etsy shop and never looked back. Now I paint as much as I can in between producing jobs, and I try to infuse my art with slightly caustic humor and as much weirdness as possible.
My favorite piece of artwork is this custom “Best Friends” piece, because I’ve gotten to “meet” so many female dog owners! A dog is definitely a girl’s best friend and I wanted to draw something that shows the special bond. Because I paint to order, I can change up both the dog and the girl in terms of size, shape, favorite colors or flowers, hairstyle, or even the dog’s collar. The possibilities are endless and I love hearing new ideas from the folks who order! Check it out by clicking here.
Discover more of Monica's work by clicking on the following...
This week's featured artist comes to us from the "Windy City" of Chicago where she creates, colorful collage people and animal portraits from cut magazine pieces. Her goal is "capturing little moments in life that make people smile." Her work certainly makes me smile.
Like people, animals have their own unique personality that shines through in their eyes, smile and body language. I love capturing their unique look that makes them who they are. I can’t help but want to capture what I see and share it with the world.
Winnie -Photo Reference by Sparenga Photography
I got my first dog, Ody, at age 15. He was a shepherd mix that I found at Chicago Animal Care & Control. He and I were partners in crime for 12 yrs. He was the most loyal and funniest dog I have ever come across. Then came Pepper. She is from Anti-Cruelty Society. She is silly and a lovable pit mix. She’s an excellent cuddler. I got her a sister, Delilah, a Treeing Walker Coonhound, from Lake Shore Animal Rescue. They are both around 4 -5 yrs old. Delilah is a sassy hound dog that loves getting attention from just about anybody.
Fifty & Izzy
I’ve been creating art since I could remember. I remember passing the time creating jewelry out of construction paper, making glitter glue and decorating with it, drawing and coloring were my absolute favorite things to do. I still have some art projects from grade school.
I like to dabble in a little bit of everything. I can do watercolor, oil painting or if it’s the right moment I use my camera to capture something for a later time. I’m currently into collage. I use recycled magazines and create images with torn or cut up pieces of paper.
I feel like each one that I work on is my favorite. It sounds silly but I get really excited when I get an idea or project because my brain is already going a mile a minute. I have this picture in my head that’s already forming and I get antsy to hurry up and mark it down with paper. As I work on a project I think “this is my favorite one so far”. When I look back at them I still remember that and I’m happy with how they have developed. Each one is unique and personal in a way. It’s a frozen moment of that creative spirit coming through.
Alive Rescue (Chicago)
Chicago Canine Rescue
Heartland Alliance (Chicago)
Chicagoland Eskie Rescue
Treehouse Humane Society (Chicago)
Bama Bully Rescue (McCalla, AL)
Franklin County Dog Shelter (Columbus, Ohio)
I’m an ultra marathoner.
You can find more of Maritza's fabulous work at:
This week's featured artist is a young woman based out of Edinburgh in the UK named Tori Ratcliffe. She is an accomplished watercolorist who paints wildlife and pets. Her colorful, expressive style was born out of her "impatience with the traditional method of painting."
"This lively painting style enables me to express the life and vitality of my chosen subject, with the pen strokes working to contradict the chaos of the paint, anchoring the piece together."
Her deep love of animals and the planet has led her to donate large portions of her profit to better the world. You can see the many organizations Tori supports at the end of the article.
I am inspired by animals even outside an artistic context. I am always so grateful and delighted that we get to share our planet with these furry, feathered and scaley creatures. They are all so fascinating to me, and so it is that I enjoy painting them because I love examining them in detail. Imagine how excited you’d be to meet a unicorn (if they existed!) you’d be in awe that something like that could exist… I have that attitude to every animal on the planet even cats and dogs!!
I have always loved drawing horses in particular - the chiseled curves .
I work in watercolour and fineliner – the paint is applied first to get the colour down in a loose expressive manner, the details are then drawn on top with pen along with some further touches of paint.
I have always been someone who enjoyed drawing and being crafty, but I only officially ‘became’ an artist when I was taught how to use watercolours by my aunt when I was 21, and began to start developing my own style in my spare time at university. I was lucky enough to have developed my business far enough that I could take it on as a profession when I graduated.
I would have to say that I love my ‘Leopard At Rest’ painting the most. This is because it was one of the first large A2 paintings ( 420 × 594 millimeters or 16.54 × 23.39 inches) that I successfully completed, and believe me it was a long difficult process learning how to translate my painting style onto such big pieces of paper! The Leopard painting was scaled down to an A3 print (297 × 420 millimeters or 11.69 × 16.54 inches.), which means the level of detail in the prints is incredible. It has gone on to become my most successful print, which is great as it donates 50% to the UK registered charity Helping Rhinos (www.helpingrhinos.org).
I am always envious of galloping horses, so I think perhaps a horse as it must feel incredible to run with such speed, especially in a herd! Or, I would love to be an eagle or a dolphin, again to experience the speed… it would be incredible!
I am involved with quite a lot of animal and wildlife conservation charities! We have lost half our species in the last 40 years, even animals like lions and cheetahs and the Asian elephant are endangered. We lost the Western Black Rhino to extinction the other day, I don’t think people quite grasp the urgency of the term ‘endangered’. I would like my nephew to grow up into a world where incredible animals exist, and not just pigeons and rats which are about the only animals that can happily survive the spread of urban sprawl! Supporting conservation charities is the singular most important job I feel you can do as a human being. What will become of us if we destroy nature? The only way to save our planet's animals is to save their homes.
There are several charities I support through sales of prints and specific artwork. I prefer to go for the more independently run charities as you can guarantee your money is going straight to the cause rather than being spent on advertising etc. or large wages for CEOs.
Trees for Life – Working to restore the Caledonian Forest across the Scottish Highlands and reintroduce wildlife. In the last century Britain has lost 97% of its lowland meadows and 90% of coppiced woodland so it’s HUGELY important we work to get some of that back! I am excited to volunteer with them at the end of this month! www.treesforlife.org.uk
World Land trust – Working to protect rainforests from deforestation, and in doing so protecting the thousands of plant and animal species within them. David Attenborough is their patron and believes WLT to be one of the most effective conservation charities. www.worldlandtrust.org
Helping Rhinos – working from all angles to help save the Rhino from poaching. They have several carefully selected field projects designed to tackle the current crisis, from supporting the Black Mambas, an all female anti-poaching unit, to working to educate people about the price animals are paying for ivory. www.helpingrhinos.org
OuTrop – Working to protect the Orangutans in Indonesia. Unfortunately a lot of their time is putting out forest fires that have been started illegally by farmers, mostly to clear land to grow grain to feed cows across the planet (which is why of all the meats to eat, beef is the most damaging to the planet!) www.outrop.com
Turtle Island Restoration Network – our oceans are in a very vulnerable state – overfishing, coral bleaching, climate change, ocean acidification. Turtle Island is one of the most effective charities for looking after our seas and their contents as they work alongside people in communities all around the world. www.seaturtles.org
Besides all of the beautiful wildlife paintings, Tori also creates custom pet portraits. Example above.
To have your own pet portrait created or to see more of Tori's work, visit her on the web at:
Twitter : @torirats
****To Contact Helen Violet about doing a sculpture please go to her website at https://helenvioletart.com/commissions/****
If we could be more dog, the world would be a better place." That's the motto of this week's featured artist Helen Violet. Helen creates ultra realistic mini replicas of fur babbies for pet owners with her brand Who's Your Doggy? Custom Pet Sculptures. Working from photos provided by pet parents, she creates beautiful, richly detailed pieces which capture the personality of each little buddy, making them something the owners will forever cherish. If you are passionate about your fur baby, then you will relate to Helen's views on how our 4-legged friends fill our lives with an abundance of love and joy.
Since I was young, I have always been fascinated with animals and nature – especially dogs. As children, I believe that we are drawn to animals, not only because they are cute or interesting to interact with, but I believe that as children, we share a natural and special connection with animals that many of us lose as adults.
As a child, I was mesmerized and curious about how animals perceive the world. I was obsessed with dogs, and I wanted to be like one - I still do. As we grow older and our lives become busy, full of responsibilities, as we try to meet our goals and discover ‘who we are,’ we often lose sight of what life is all about. In my opinion, the ultimate goal in life is to be happy, and many of us try to find this in the wrong places. We forget that we already have everything we need to be happy and successful right inside of us. Our closest animal companions help remind us of this every day.
If we could be a little more ‘dog’, we would love more, we would play more, and rather than ‘try’ to be - We would just be.
These are ideas I am passionate about, and ideas I always consider and practice while I create my sculptures. They are not just sculptures; they are a reminder of a special being in our lives who change us for the better and help us to remember to live life to the fullest. It is the greatest pleasure to be able to help someone remember not only their pets, but what their pets taught them.
My sculptures are created with professional polymer clay and acrylic paint. I am also passionate about illustration. My favorite material is simple graphite on paper.
My first pet was a fish named Bubbles. Bubbles was a great companion, but I had always wanted a dog. I was obsessed with dogs when I was young! My parents still joke about it to this day – When I was little, I would quite often pretend to be a dog, but I wouldn’t just bark… I would go all out. I’d put a bowl of water for myself under the dinner table, I’d curl up into small, cozy spaces – basically I was super into it.
After asking and asking for years, I got my wish. On my 11th birthday, I had finished opening my presents and was surprised to hear there was one more. I looked to my left, and on the floor was this little black beanie baby, except it moved… “It must be one of those new moving robot dogs,” I thought, but it moved again. I knew it was no robot. I kneeled next to her, picked her up and balled my eyes out. I’ll never forget it.
My girl, Keisha, is turning 14 in July. She’s been with me more than half of my life now. She has made my life better in more ways than I can count. Just looking at her brings joy to my heart. It’s really hard to put into words how I feel about her. She is just everything to me. I’m sure a lot of dog moms and dads can understand the feeling I am talking about. It’s a bond like no other.
She is the reason I continue my love for animals today, and the reason I love what I do and why I understand how much my work will mean to my client. I know how special it is, and I do my absolute best to capture his/her furbaby – not just their look, but their personality and soul.
I have been creating art my entire life. I was lucky enough to be born with a strong passion and sense of purpose that I could never get rid of. When asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, I always answered ‘Artist’ – I was never interested in anything else, except perhaps a Veterinarian!
Growing up, I let myself be discouraged about pursuing a career in art. The idea of the ‘starving artist’ was stuck in my mind. Yet, I continued to create, not really having a plan. I spent 4 years in Fine Art exploring all different mediums. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew I was doing the right thing, and that’s all that mattered.
Sculpture had always interested me. I love the ability to hold and feel a creation. I connected my passion for creating with my passion for animals, and I took a chance – not knowing whether or not I would succeed. I hope that anyone out there who has a dream, but is letting fear alter that destiny, will allow himself or herself to escape their mind. Listen to your inner being, not your thoughts, fears or doubts. Take a chance. Take small steps. You will see that your dreams will start taking small steps towards you as well.
I am a huge Disney fan. I love the characters, the music, the visuals – every movie is a masterpiece in my opinion.
All of my favorite characters are animals, of course.
Lady from Lady & The Tramp
Every character from The Lion King
Pascal from Tangled
Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon
So many more.
Also, I’m not sure if this counts, but Pokemon (who are inspired by animals) was a big thing when I was young. Pokemon, in its own way, helps to express the incredible bond between human and animals, except Pokemon can understand everything we’re saying, which is cool. I’m a bit of a nerd.
Thank you to Helen Violet for her interview. This is not her website so you cannot order from this website. In order to contact Helen, please visit her on her website at
Love Dogs? Check out our Outlaw Doggy Key Chains!
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A few weeks ago, while perusing through the wonderful animal photos on Instagram, I stumbled upon some lively watercolor paintings of cats. I loved the fresh and vibrant approach that caught the true essence of our furry friends. When I dug a little deeper, I found these paintings belonged to a budding new artist named Sara Conley. She named her venture "I Painted Your Cat," which is exactly what she does. She finds cat pictures or cat parents find her, and the magic begins. Sara is making quite the impression on Instagram. When I wrote to her on March 16, 2016 she had just started I Painted Your Cat on Instagram a week prior and already had many paintings and over 400 followers. At the time of this post on March 29, she now has almost 800 followers on Instagram. Her new-found passion is contagious.
"My art is all donation based. As long as people send shipping, I will send them their cat if I paint it. Of course, some people give extra which is awesome! But it was super important to me to be fun as well as accessible to anyone who wanted one. :)"
I am totally inspired by cats! I've always loved them. I can remember pouting at my mother for being allergic to them when I was a child. I haven't owned a cat in years but recently my boyfriend was looking to adopt, after his very old kitty passed away. Going through that process with him really made me remember what I love about them. We must have met 100 cats in our search for the perfect kitty, and each one was so distinctive and unique.
I would love to be able to talk about Ohio Alleycat Resource for just a second, if I could. They were so insanely helpful when we were looking for our cat. Everyone there is very passionate about what they do, and they know their animals so well. When we described the perfect cat, it was like watching Ollivander pick out a wand! They just knew the right cat for us. They also dedicate themselves to affordable spay/neuter, vet care and catch and release programs, in addition to just being a stand up no kill shelter. If you're in the Cincinnati area please support them!
This week's featured artist Cara Bevan of "Art From the Heart," comes to us from a 128 acre farm and nature preserve in North Carolina where she is surrounded by the love of her human and animal family. This young, multitalented artist, is happily pursuing an art career focusing on realistic and fanciful creations, and celebrates her love of animals stating, "I find endless joy in painting every fur, feather, scale, hair, and leaf."
"I respect all animals, from cute and cuddly to creepy crawly, for every creature has its purpose. I strive to get this point across in my work - every animal is beautiful, you just have to have the heart and mind to see it."
Growing up I was always around animals. My parents ran a rescue/hobby farm where every animal was a part of the family. This led me to understand animals better than I could people - from chickens, to goats, cats and dogs, and even reptiles. My understanding of them is why all of my art is of animals or represents them.
I use a variety of mediums. My main two are acrylic paintings and mix-media sculpture. My sculptures are made from gourds and clay. I also create art digitally, with colored pencil, and pen & ink.
I still live on the family farm, which is now a nature preserve. We currently have 2 parrots, 17 cats (all tamed, fixed ferals), a goat, 2 llamas, a horse, 20 chickens, turkeys, peacocks, ducks, geese, guinea hens, 2 emus, plus the various wild animals that visit us daily.
I've been making art ever since I could hold a pencil! Growing up it was my favorite pastime besides playing with my younger sister. Professionally, I've been creating art since 2007. I am a self-taught artist, so my career started when I was 18 after I graduated from high school. I've just been painting and creating art ever since!
It would be hard to pick between a cat and a bear, but I've always been more akin to a bear. Not only is it my nickname (Cara Bear), but I believe it is my guardian spirit. They are imposing, but can be gentle. Fierce when needed, but very protective of the ones they love. Describes me well.
Kindred spirits. I've always thought I was more animal than I was human - that's probably because of how I was raised. I actually had to learn my 'people skills' when I was in my mid 20's! Animals are more like us than most people know. They fear, they hate, they can hold grudges. They can also love, make friends, forgive, and learn so much. Or, maybe, humans are more like them.
I donate yearly to the NC Zoo, which not only educates people on animals, but also their care, welfare, environmental status, and more. They run a wildlife rehab for sick, injured, and abandoned animals, sponsor grants for animal research, and fund programs across the world to help endangered wild animals. I'm a proud supporter of the NC Zoo.
Want to see more of Cara's work: Visit her here:
This is Wierex the Cat! Purrrecious, don't you think?
Who creates art to help abandoned cats find forever homes? It's this week's featured artist Wierex the Cat, and what a talented cat indeed! We don't know much about this fluffy black kitty, which makes him/her an Outlaw Kitty in our book, but what we do know, we love! This little kitty is full of hope and has a huge heart. Let's find out how this purrrfectly talented feline creates art for the good of the cat kingdom.
I draw cats! I am inspired by the #CatsOfTwitter, the people who love and care for them, and the dedicated people who tirelessly work to shelter and find loving homes for abandoned cats. I enjoy drawing cats who need a home hoping that it will help bring attention to them. They are all so darling, they deserve love!
I draw on my iPad using an app called ProCreate and a Sensu stylus.
I have shared my home with cats, a dog, and a bird!
If any of my drawings of adoptable cats help a cat find a loving home, that is my favorite.
A cat of course! Or, a bird for the amazing perspective of flight.
You can find me on Twitter @wierexcat
Thank you Wierex the Cat! And, meow the force be with you as you continue to share your talents to do good!
Today we talk with an aspiring tattoo artist from the Czech Republic who is currently living in Canada. She is deeply touched by nature and animals which is reflected in an intellectual mix of realism merged with whimsy and a bit of fantasy.
I thing we, as humans, have real connection with animals as we are animals as well; the human kind.
Every animal has it's own spirit and character we can be inspired by.
People have often the tendency to think we have intelligence that puts us somewhere above the animals but I'm not really sure if it's true. Intelligence, our brain and thoughts can be also very damaging for us or at least they can sometimes make our life more complicated. Animals don't think like humans do. They are more in tune with themselves. They listen to their true needs and instincts, while we have lost touch with our true essence, with our body, with our soul. Sometimes we put money and materialistic things first. We silence our needs so we work too hard to have more money to buy things we don't really need. We hold separation between each other. Unlike animals we learn how to close our hearts, how to hold grudges, how to hate, blame and judge other beings. I've never seen an animal to hold a grudge against others. We have so much to learn from animals. We can start with learning how to love simply and unconditionally.
Animals in my artwork are representative of various characteristics. They speak for certain personalities, behaviour patterns, roles in society, beliefs, desires, fears, strengths and weaknesses based on particular essences of each animal being.
I currently prefer black ink on paper. In the future I would like to transfer my art into tattoos.
I've always loved animals. As a child I was surrounded be them. My family used to have various breeds of dogs and as far as I can remember I've always wanted my own puppy. We had an Irish Wolfhound, Poodle and Schnauzer. I managed to get my own Yorkshire Terrier when I was 14. She was my baby. Even though she had her own bad habits nothing warmed my heart more than seeing her unconditional love. She followed me everywhere and wanted to please me all the time. That was back in Czech were I'm from. By moving to Canada I've realized it's not that easy to have a dog anymore as I'm not really settled in my life so far. There's a lot of travelling and exploring I want to do and I don't want to be so selfish to drag a little dependent creature with me or leave it without me while I'm gone for a various times. I'm sure a pet time is going to come in the future. So far I'm happy to share my life with just my partner as he is also kind of my animal.
A drive to create things has been always present in my life. I've enjoyed various medias as painting and drawing on paper, pots, clay, beads, glass, wood and textiles. I've been making ceramics, jewelry, stained glass decorations and weaved baskets. I've some experience with sewing and I really love crocheting. However, illustrating is currently my favourite one and I dedicate way more time into it than ever before.
I like all of my artwork as each of it represents something or someone. Every piece I create is anchored in time with certain meanings, qualities, representations and memories.
The lion has always been the animal for me. As It's my sign of the zodiac it has been following me all my life. It's temperament has certainly many common attributes with my character. I admire it's strength, boldness and ability to lead while it keeps it's geniality, cheerfulness and playfulness. It's feline, gentle and majestic expression has always been an ideal appearance across the animal kingdom for me.
Want to see more of Veronika?
Follow her artwork on Instagram : #verofojt
Follow her life adventures on Instagram: #chicacheca
International artist Mira Guerquin was born in Warsaw, Poland and has shown her works in Europe, Canada and the US. This prolific artist not only excels in watercolor, but also had a career in graphic design. Today, she devotes herself to painting. Some of her favorite things to paint, of course, are animals!
I am inspired by animals and nature. I am truly fascinated by the endless configurations of size, shape, and color of animal bodies. When I observe and paint them, I wonder what remarkable processes generated these beautiful patterns and lead to such diversity. The closest field of observation is my backyard where I plant variety of flowers and plants that attract bees, butterflies, and birds. I also made frequent trips to faraway places like Europe, Africa, Asia to see animals living in their natural surroundings. From those trips I have collections of photographs that provide endless inspiration for my new paintings.
I have spent many years experimenting with artistic techniques and surfaces but finally fell in love with watercolors. This technique, as some would say, is based on happy accidents. The more you paint, more often they happen. I chose this challenging and rewarding technique to explore how water and paint allow me to express the rich colors, intricate textures, and attractive beauty of animal bodies. I do not attempt to document the birds and animals with exact realism, but rather to express some of the qualities and energy of the amazing natural world around us.
My small dog is adopted from the Humane Society. He’s a cross between a Chihuahua and a Dachshund (called a Chiweenie). He assists me in my studio, sometimes acting as a model, and always vigorously and bravely protecting the place.
I’ve been creating art for my entire life, so there isn’t a single piece that stands above others for me. I’ve learned that there are phases of interest when I am inspired to paint new subjects in new ways. Most recently I’ve been painting single animals on a white background which lets me focus on the natural beauty of the creature, and sometimes on the emotion of the moment. You can see the collection on my Etsy store. The wonderful thing about exhibiting my work online is that you pick favorites for me. For example, I didn’t expect my Red Fox painting to become the most popular item on my store, but for some reason it gets more attention than others.
Naturally animals are shy, but sometimes they are curious and playful, and to my eyes, they are beautiful.
Enjoy more or Mira's work here: