The Art of Animals
Part 1 in a series
The Northwest is home to amazing artists whose works celebrate animals in countless ways, from whimsical to majestic. Their subjects are diverse, as are their media, ranging from scrap metal to acrylics, newsprint to clay, and bronze.
What unites them is a love of animals that led them down a serendipitous career path. Animal art chose them, they say, like a happy dog or friendly goat, landing right in their laps.
And they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mosieur has been painting with oils since she was 10, and pets have always been a favorite subject, “starting with my own,” she smiles.
After having her first child four years ago, Mosieur decided pet portraits were something she could do from home that would be fun. She says, “I painted a few and had a little show at the local cafe, and left some cards out.”
Mosieur will work from photos, but prefers to “do a little photo shoot” to capture a pet’s personality. “I like to position like a classic human portrait would be — looking right at you from the bust up, sort of evoking royal portraits in a tongue-in-cheek way. Like how people sat for portraits before modern photography.”
“It’s really fun and challenging to capture a pet’s personality the way you might normally think of capturing a person’s.”
Mock’s metal sculptures arise from found objects, and his work’s focus came largely from commissions. “I’ve always loved animals,” he says, “but the focus on them mostly came from people wanting sculptures of their favorite animal or a special pet. Dog commissions are by far the most popular.”
Mock’s animal sculptures, whether life-sized Dachshunds or super-sized mutts, come together from cast-off spoons and springs, lug nuts and plumbing parts. Welded to life as paws and tails and floppy ears, these former scrap bits become what Mock calls sculptural “Eye-Spy games that ask people to look closely.”
Since each work comes from found pieces, none can be replicated. “Each is one of a kind.”
O’Driscoll creates whimsical, textural works of humans, horses, cats, and dogs. But in true artist style, her life informs her work, and in her life there are also chickens, goats, and pigs.
“A few years ago, our daughter rescued four pigs. We also had goats, the most whimsical of animals.” As an animal advocate, O’Driscoll also helped rescue some hens from a cruelty case. “So painting them was a natural,” she says.
O’Driscoll’s paintings, in acrylic on canvas, feature mixed-media surprises that invite the eye to keep exploring. She often adorns mischievous-looking chickens or Pit Bulls with tiaras or jewels, for an effect as surprising and entertaining as the animals themselves. “I love watching them and am amazed at their varied expressions,” she smiles. “Painting them seemed like the right thing to do.”