Capturing the essence of your furry friend: Attitude 2 Art
Pets are more than just animals. They are beloved members of our families. They bring us joy, comfort, and unconditional love. Its no wonder that many pet owners want to immortalize their companion animal in a special way. One way to do this is through pet portraits. These works of art capture the essence of our pets, their unique personalities and the special bond we share with them. In this article, we‘ll explore the art of pet portraits, how they can be a meaningful way to celebrate our cherished companions and a look at the history and work of renowned artist Susan Satha who specialises in these amazing creations.
Susan’s love for art was inherited from and inspired by her mother, who herself came from a long line of Dutch artists. Susan’s mother specialised in painting exotic birds, and Susan spent many moments as a child, growing up on a coconut plantation, watching her mum create her beautiful works of art. This strong artistic influence in her life led to Susan having one of her paintings featured in a gallery exhibition when she was only 11 years old, after winning an all-island art competition for her school in Colombo, Sri Lanka, much to the delight of her mother.
After her schooling was over, the early years in Sri Lanka and the latter part of it in the United Kingdom, Susan went on to develop her interest in art, and became a much sought after specialist painter, muralist and also Interior designer. This branching out, found her working in some exciting and exotic places, from the walls of royalty and themed exclusive restaurants, to nurseries in the homes of some of the rich and famous.
After taking time out to start a family, the lockdowns gave Susan an opportunity to get back to her artistic roots of painting wildlife, before deciding to focus on pet portraiture alone, as her popularity in that area grew. Now, she works solely as a photorealistic artist, and works from her home in Bexhill and studio in London.
This in itself turned out to be quite challenging and exciting for her, as she never knew what four legged friend she would be working on next. Her animal subjects have been wide and varied, from your everyday household cats and dogs to the odd Shetland Pony and even a Vietnamese potbellied pig!
Her love for wildlife, nature and animals has taken her into a direction that gives her great pleasure that she shares with her clients who commission her.
Each work of art is created around the individual to capture a moment of time in their lives. Susan believes there is beauty in all things around us, you just need to open your eyes to see it. “You could be in the city, countryside or in a jungle, to be able to capture and paint it, is wonderful.”
That has very much been Susan’s Attitude To her Art — the capturing of the true characteristics of her subject; the likeness and depth of the animal.
“Portraiture is about capturing the expression of the living in a single frame. Something so interesting here, is that the fundamental tone of all life is motion. Even if at rest or when appearing still, there is movement occurring in so many ways and on so many levels. This means that when working on a portrait, an artist must still find a method of conveying motion, which becomes more of a challenge, but also more necessary, when the piece is one of a pet sitting or lying down. If you’re able to capture the emotions of the animal in that moment, the piece is brought to life for the owners, as they recognise the spirit of the animal that they love. For me, it’s all about the eyes. The eyes reflect the soul of the animal. You can see the nature of the animal through the eyes in the same way you would in a human being. The depth and shape of the eyes reflect the soul of the animal. Often in pets you can see the love oozing out of their eyes, whereas in the eyes of wildlife you can see a deeper animalistic nature, one of either a hunter or of a survivor, coming through. You’ve captured the animal once you’ve captured their eyes.”