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Pets and Other Animals

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As with human portraits, painting pets and other animals accurately can be challenging. In order to capture their true essence, I find that I need to empathize with my subject. I do not have to go to great lengths to do this- it just comes naturally. For instance, when painting loyalty in a faithful dog’s eyes, I try to see the world through those eyes. Similarly, I try to inhabit the skin beneath the matted fur or the smooth silky coat. If I feel like a dog, I can represent the dog, almost as if I am representing myself. In this way, I believe that on some level, we are all connected.

When I painted Old Timer, it was a very warm day and I sat watching that doggy flick his tail in and out from bright sunlight to cool shadow, over and over. I knew how he felt! Another time, I went to the Philadelphia Zoo to draw a gorilla. I don’t remember the big guy’s name now, but I do remember how he sat there, motionless, for over and hour while I sketched him. The weirdest thing of all was when I got up, he got up! It had been no different than an actual session with a human being. There was definitely a connection between us. That’s the way it always is for me when drawing animals. There is an invisible bond between us; a drawing of the animal’s spirit into my own.


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Nick Santoleri ~ Artist  |   Pine Ridge Productions, Inc.
1515 West Chester Pike Unit A-6, West Chester, PA 19382
In Historic Chester County, Pennsylvania

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