Wildlife Painter & Children's Book Illustrator
What is your favorite animal to paint?
There are many animals that I love to paint, but I am especially fond of the big cats. (Lions, tigers, cheetahs, etc.) I also particularly enjoy painting zebras (love those stripes!) and frogs!
Laura Regan answers some of your questions...
How long does it take to complete a painting?
It really depends on the amount of detail. A painting similar to the tiger on the right (this one was 36"x36") usually takes about 2-3 weeks. I find that if I take a lot of care in planning the picture, the actual painting takes less time because I don't make as many mistakes.
Where do you get the models for your paintings?
I paint mainly from photographs. (There's just NO way that a tiger would sit and pose for me!) I have a huge collection of photographs that I keep in files for each animal. I use my own photos, photos that friends give me, and pictures from books and magazines. I also use videos to see the animals in motion. I never use just one picture for a painting because I worry that it wouldn't look original. I used 12 different pictures for the tiger alone in the painting above. I used the eyes from one picture, the whiskers from another, etc.
Yes, when I'm really lucky! My favorite trip was to Africa several years ago. I was able to use a lot of my pictures for paintings when I got home. Before I started work on Welcome to the Sea of Sand I spent several days in the Arizona Sonora Desert.
Do you get to go to any of the places that you paint?
What is your favorite painting medium?
For many years I painted with oils, but I unfortunately developed an allergy to that medium, so now I paint with acrylics. Most of my paintings are on stretched canvas or Masonite board. I use soft synthetic brushes to apply several thin coats of paint.
When did you know that you wanted to be an artist?
I loved to draw and paint since I can remember. My favorite memories of Kindergarten were rainy days when we would stay indoors during recess and color! My father, who was very artistic, helped me to learn about perspective and shading when I was still quite young. By the time I was in high school I knew that I wanted to be a professional artist. I have been selling my paintings since 1974.
Why did you start illustrating children's books?
I noticed that children visiting my exhibits really enjoyed my paintings. I thought that I could help to educate even more children about the beauty of nature through books.