If art begins with inspiration, then animals are what inspire my art. In writing that, my artist’s statement, I have given much thought to what came first: my love of animals or my love of art. They are so inextricably entangled that it is really hard to tell.
No matter what I am doing, animals stop me in my tracks. They fascinate me and touch my heart in the deepest places. Even in my earliest memories, they are there, a living presence that is somehow connected to me. When I was just 3 years old, I escaped from my house and walked alone down the block to the firehouse to see the spotted dog that I knew lived there. Soon, drawing horses became an involuntary response to paper and pencil. Most of my jobs were animal related — e.g., stable hand, trainer’s assistant, dog groomer — but these experiences taught me about anatomy, personality, and the uniqueness of each individual. So I am guessing that the art really became my way of expressing this love and fascination.
My work is considered more portraiture because I tend to want to zone in on the animals’ individual characteristics. I want them to be the center of interest, not just part of a landscape. I will always consider their eyes to be the key element in my work, for it is through their eyes that I see their life essence. My intent is to capture that unique being before me so that my audience can almost reach out and feel the softness of feather or fur, the dampness of a nose or tongue, and take in the beauty without being disturbed by movement. Working in oils or in colored pencil on suede board, I continually work to learn something new and to improve my use of the materials.
The natural world has always been my comfort zone. You won’t find me at the mall — unless art supplies are on sale. I would much rather take a walk with my dog or ride out into the country and look for cows and wildlife. I am blessed to live in the Livermore Valley where I can still leave town in any direction and find that pickup trucks and cowboy boots aren’t a fashion statement but a way of life.
Kathleen Hill’s tagline is: “Celebrating the lives of our beloved companions in oils and colored pencil.” You can learn earn more about her and her animal portraits at www.KathleenHill.com. Contact her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 925-373-0860.
Main article photo by: Illustrations by Kathleen Hill