About Me

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I have studied art throughout my life starting at a young age being taught by my father, a book illustrator. I then went on to study at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, The Art Institute Online of Pittsburgh, and the Academy of Art University of San Francisco. I recently completed a Liberal Studies degree with a concentration in another of my passions, Environmental Science. I created art that I printed on cards and commissioned to local gift shops, but it was not until I started my pet care business in 2010 that I was inspired to do pet portrait art. Our fur babies are as much a part of our families as our humans, and I enjoy capturing not only their likeness, but their character, humor, and spirit. My portraits have been done in charcoal, oil, and acrylic with my present works being done mostly in pastel.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Inspiration Without Those Vexatious Thumbnail Sketches

Pastel Drawing "Indoor Landscape"
This was inspired by one of my Instagram followers who requests drawings of her cat Leo from various artists. I saw this curious pose of Leo and immediately imagined him watching a house spider in the wild house plants. The muses guided me through the rest as they usually do.

On this topic, in all of my art school studies, I was always taught to make thumbnail sketches, lots and lots of thumbnail sketches. I was to work out my various ideas on a chosen theme and then stick to just one of them. Though I understand the point of them, I always found them to be less than useful. I know I am not alone. In the end, I always used my first idea anyway and then branched off of it. Art to me is like life, it evolves and changes as you go. Why can't ideas change and goals change? Why must we be so rigid and not willing to bend as our ideas shift from our daily experiences? Let art be what it is, art. Isn't there enough in life telling us to stay inside the box and stick to the plan?

I remember discussing "what is art" in a philosophy class, and that's where it fits, among the philosophers. Art by nature has been created by people throughout history to depict culture, history, protests, an era, daily life, and advertising. It seems advertising has been more the modern goal and inflicted upon artists to be mindful of trends while we create, be aware of what sells and what colors are more popular. I do my best to create art that is not subject to any of these modern afflictions. My nature does not draw me to be a mediocre clone of other artists. I create what inspires me, show it to the world and let it go. Art, to me, is meditation, it's personal, universal, and an opportunity to leave something of myself behind.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Wild Roots

"Wild Roots" 11x17 Pastel Drawing
This week's drawing was inspired by a book I came across at the library called "The Cat Encyclopedia". The book includes a small introduction to the history of cats. I have been hearing a common opinion lately, also expressed briefly in the book, that cats are not truly domesticated. My veterinarian shares this opinion.

The photo I used for this drawing came about because my cat was exploring a small ledge in our basement. She was drawn to its narrow path and its height above the floor. I immediately took some photos thinking this would be her in the wild, scaling trees and keeping an eye on the world below her.

I want to share a statistic from the book that I found interesting. Under the section titled "Cat species around the world" it states, "Wildcats are successful in evolutionary terms in that they were once widespread and found in many different habitats, but most species are now either endangered or threatened. In contrast, there are an estimated 600 million domestic cats worldwide."

I find it ironic that we care more for the smaller version of the wild cats than the wild cats themselves. There must be an instinctual, or perhaps more habitual reason, that humans take compassion for some animals, and not others.

So in the spirit of staying true to our natures, watch your fur baby for signs of  their wild roots and appreciate where they came from. They are survivors, instinctual and probably have a better grasp of the natural world than we do, despite humans imposing domestication.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Cleveland Diversity and Art

A collage of my recent pastel pet art.
One of the things I am growing to love about Cleveland is the diversity. I say this as a vague term because all of life is diverse really, but all species are guilty of segregating themselves from each other. Even so, it is nice to be surrounded by various cultures, food, languages, and especially creativity.

To share in the spirit of diversity and creativity, I am posting a collage I put together of my most recent pastel pet art. It is ironic that humans are far more apt to welcome a variety of species of animals from different parts of the world into their home, with varying diets and customs, and yet so uneasy about doing the same for fellow humans.

My perspective, we all share this amazing place together. I see the differences as a positive instead of a negative. Some people see the differences as offensive and intrusive, but I see it as I see animals differences, humorous, charming, and on a deeper level, educational. We can learn from each other, be teachers to each other, or we can have tunnel vision. Life is art and certainly open to criticism, but it doesn't have to be negative. Perhaps flipped upside-down all we would see, is the eyes of another living soul staring back at us, and we would smile. :)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day 2017! Though it should be in our minds everyday, today is a good reminder that we all share this amazing place together, and it's a collective obligation to take care of our home. As we get caught up in our day to day rush to success, whatever that may be, the Earth takes its time and continues to provide us with everything we really need, whether we appreciate it or not. Always take some time to look around at what is being given to us everyday.

If you venture out today, you can take part in the special events, or you can take a quiet walk at your neighborhood park. Either way, enjoy what the Earth gives you for free every day. It asks only that you nurture it, and it will continue to nurture all of us.

If you are here in the Cleveland Ohio area, check out all the fun events going on today. Enjoy!
https://www.eventbrite.com/d/oh--cleveland/earth-day-events/

Monday, April 10, 2017

Spring into Change


Springtime to me always feels like an opportunity for change. If I feel like my life is on repeat, then Spring is a great chance to begin again.

 As many of my followers know, my family and I moved from southeastern PA to the Cleveland OH area recently. I love it here! Despite many unforeseen events since we got here, hey that's life you know, I am having a great time taking in the new sites, meeting new people, and the varied (and much larger) wildlife here.

My fur babies, seen in the paintings here, endured the long drive by car to get here. It wasn't too long before they found their favorite new spots in our home. I think they are also enjoying watching the larger wildlife outside. :)

My pet care business is slow to start, and no new art as of yet, but with Spring in the air now, I am filled with creative inspiration. I look forward to continuing my art work here in Ohio and meeting new clients and fur babies. There's nothing like walking a dog in the Spring rain or working on a drawing until my hands are covered in art colors. Now get outside and get dirty! -SB

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Element of Surprise

The element of surprise has always been a part of our existence. The not knowing, the unexpected around every corner can be stressful or can motivate change. When those moments of chaos, be it good or bad by ones own definition, arise we often are forced to reexamine our priorities.

 Here is my most recent portrait; the surprised kitten. The young explorer loves to investigate the world and get into mischief. Sometimes she falls, and sometimes she leaps to great heights gaining new perspective. It's a simplistic notion I suppose, but next time you find yourself surprised by something, observe if it knocked you down or picked you up. It's not always the surprise itself that creates change, it's your reaction to it, and how we react is most likely dictated by our perspective, our own story. Unexpected moments can be a great turning point in your life, but you have to be willing to explore, investigate, fall down, and chance the unexpected around the next corner.