Art Walk - February

February 1, 2019  |  5PM - 7PM  |  Bainbridge Public Library  |  Free.

My Pet Project: Portraits of Cats and Dogs

Works by Susan Wiersema

Please join us for the new First Friday Art Walk exhibit by Susan Wiersema. The exhibit, "My Pet Project: Portraits of Cats and Dogs", grew from her passion for pets.  This passion has grown into flourishing business.  The exhibit is in the newly renovated main conference room of the library.  For the reception, light refreshments will be served.

Susan Wiersema

Susan Wiersema

Susan Wiersema

Susan Wiersema Susan Wiersema Susan Wiersema
Susan Wiersema Susan Wiersema        Susan Wiersema
Susan Wiersema

I was the kind of kid that brought home every stray kitten I found. I would've brought home dogs too, if we didn't already have some at home and no room in our yard. I have always had a love for cats, dogs, hamsters, and most things with four legs. This love for animals is a big part of my pet portrait work. 

My pet portrait work has become a flourishing business because of my passion for pets. Interestingly, I fell into a career in pet portraiture after an invitation to exhibit in the Dog Days of Summer exhibition at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts several summers ago. Focusing on dogs, the work came to life as I concentrated on the eyes, nose, and mouth. It felt like I was revealing the dog’s heart and soul with each stroke of color. People responded so positively to the work that I got several commissions from that show. I knew then, that I had found my artist niche. 

I work primarily in colored pencil because of the range of colors available and I draw better than I paint. People often ask me how I get such expressive eyes with my pet portraits? I build up rich and varied layers with many pencil strokes and then blend the colors with water, making them unique. This is really what makes the portrait come to life, it's the eyes. I enjoy watching viewers of my artwork move forward and back, looking at how the pinks, purples, blues, and greens work together. This harmony gives the viewer a window into the personality of the animal. For this reason I use bold compositions. I especially love doing close ups of the pet's head. It’s as though the face of the animal is saying, "Hey, look at me!” 

I have a B.F.A in photography, and I photograph most my subjects. My photographs have become wonderful reference material and some can stand on their own as a work of art. In addition, my experience working in photo labs, an art history museum, an art gallery and frame shop, and an art supply store have given me a vast amount of experience that contribute greatly to my work. I also teach at the Winslow Art Center and find the company of a variety of amazing artist friends invaluable to my success.