Description Susan Donley, 2006. 14.5x11 inches. Colored pencil on paper working from family photos. From the series, 'Woman's Work is Never Done' by Susan Donley.A rural Rosie the Riveter! My Great Aunt Teen takes a break from plowing the family farm in 1920s Jefferson County, Ohio. She's riding a Fordson tractor, which was used to power a sawmill, as well as plowing and cultivating the fields. The previous tractor was operated by steam and was so heavy that it broke through a wooden bridge, severely scalding my great-grandfather who was driving. Teen's stepped in to take over his work while he healed. Naturally, she still had to do her more traditional housework, as well!
Susan Donley, Pittsburgh, PA Member Since June 2007 Artist Statement
After 30 years in art and history museum education, I’m refocusing on my first loves, drawing and painting. Cheating natural selection a few times, including surviving cancer, made me realize that now, not someday, was the time to return to my dream of making a living as an artist. I started out on this path in junior high, supplementing babysitting income by selling portraits of ‘60s “teenybopper” favorites like the Monkees!
I still do portraits of people, but my favorite subjects have fur and feathers. Calling them by name, I start by capturing the spark of life in their eyes (they keep me company while I work!). Then stroke by stroke, I build textures and shades of gray. I know no greater joy than watching a personality come alive under my hand!
Pet Portrait Commissions
Let me capture the furry or feathered face you love in a lasting reminder of the love you share! Or as a priceless gift to the pet-lover in your life. I work from your photos so distance is not object!
Choose Black and white or color
A detailed black and white graphite pencil portrait, like those in my gallery here, focuses attention on your pet’s character and personality. Intricate shading highlights your dog or cat’s expressive eyes, ears, or cocked head. Graphite excels at textures, like soft, velvety ears; silky waves, or wiry curls.
Choose a color portrait If people always comment on your pet’s beautiful coat or markings, then you might show those off with a color portrait. Oil pastel’s strong, vivid color reproduces the complex highlights of shiny coats and the soft fuzzy textures of others. Watercolor/colored pencil’s color is more subtle and more detailed than pastel.
Black and white or color, I become very attached to my portrait subjects as I work on them. Even my family knows “Britt,” “Lindsey,” Sadie,” “Gretel,” “Bart and Tali,” “Marie and Pierre,” “Candy,” “Buddy,” “Barkley,” “Daisy” by name!
I’d love to meet your best buddy, too, and capture that wonderful face that makes your heart melt (and makes you hand over the treats!). So gather your photos and bring back warm memories of a beloved pet now gone. Or commission your current mutt’s angelic mug as a reminder next time you arrive home to evidence of a chewing marathon! Find out more about commissioning your pet's portrait.
Memorial Pet Portraits
My greatest reward is helping someone heal by capturing the spirit of a lost pet in a portrait.
I can’t bring them back, but I can help replace painful images of illness and death with memories of the good times everytime you see your pet looking out from your wall!