Description Susan Donley, 2007. 11x13.5 inches. Colored pencil on paper working from family photos. From the series, 'Woman's Work is Never Done' by Susan Donley.Girl Geek, World War I style! My Great Aunt Hazel takes dictated messages arriving by telephone at the Postal Telegraph (Western Union competitor) office that she ran with her husband Andy in East Palestine, Ohio. Messages were sent and received using the switchboard, telegraph keys, and sounders pictured on the right. The photo that inspired this painting was taken sometime between 1915 and 1920.My other aunt Opal, younger than Hazel, would deliver paper copies of incoming messages on her bicycle!
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 no 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.
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!