When I was a child I used to draw animals all the time, on anything I could find. Even though I had an excellent variety of plastic farm and wild animals, I created a menagerie of my own from cardboard. I colored in the details, then carefully cut out each of the animals and glued on their legs so that I could play with them.
As a teenager I drew and doodled in all my notebooks, and I still have my old sketchpads. In college I kept my love alive by taking art history classes.
The love of art is part of my family lineage. My mother enjoyed oil painting, and my father’s mother was a professional watercolorist; my father was very proud of her work.
Unlike many parents who might worry about the possibility of their artistic child starving in a garret, my father always encouraged my interest, even suggesting I become a commercial artist. I can vividly recall declining, calling it a burnout profession (most graphic designers only last 10 years because of the stress).
Eventually, and without formal training, I drifted into graphic design, operating my own company for many years before discovering my true passion—energy healing. The only design work I do now is for my website and ReikiShamanic store, but I never lost my interest in art or the art scene.
Several years ago I met Seattle-based artist Robert Blehert. Originally classically trained, these days his style is more lively—reminiscent of something a bold Impressionist might create while fueled by Seattle coffee—and it’s been fun watching him evolve. His sports art has been commissioned for quite a few major league teams, and is being collected by many professional athletes.
Closer to my heart were the portraits of zoo animals that he was commissioned to create for fundraisers for the Woodland Park Zoo. Robert was so excited to show me the lioness painting that I saw it before the paint was dry!
Recently I was offered the unexpected opportunity to hang some of his beautiful art in my home. As a veterinary student in the 70’s Robert began his art career doing portraits of dogs, and he told me that he wanted to revisit painting dog and cat portraits using the colorful, lively style that defines his sports art. His paintings can fetch a tidy sum, so I was delighted to find that the portraits came with a price tag within my reach.
I immediately commissioned two; one for Kiya, my glamour queen, and the other of Puma, my elderly statesman. Thankfully Robert works from photos—while Kiya might be vain enough to sit still for her portrait Puma tends to be the bashful type when it comes to the limelight! I chose several that I felt reflected their personalities and sent them off by email, and not long after received photos from Robert of each finished portrait.
I laughed when I saw Kiya’s was titled Cattitude, something I often tell her she has. Robert did a great job of capturing the essence of each; Kiya’s portrait is vibrant, colorful and full of life, and the more subdued palette used for Puma eloquently expresses his quiet dignity and sweetness.
I imagine that Kiya may be full of herself for a while. It is not every cat who can say that she has been painted by a famous artist!
If you would like to commission a portrait of your animal companion contact Robert Blehert. For a very limited time he is asking $199.00 for an 11 x 14 inch pet portrait on canvas. And visit Flowers of You if you’d like to see the intuitive portraits he does of people.
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©2011 Rose De Dan. All Rights Reserved. www.reikishamanic.com
Think Outside the Cage
Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is a mesa carrier in the Peruvian shamanic tradition. In addition she is also a Reiki Master Teacher, animal communicator, author of the acclaimed book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism, and creator of Animal and Reiki Art. As an animal shaman, she views her role as a healer as one of building bridges between people and animals, and of empowering them to reconnect with Pachamama, Mother Earth.
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