Featured Artist: Lani Woods

November 16, 2011  

The painter shares her passion for painting dogs, including adoptable pit bull Devin

Q. When did you start painting?

A. I began painting when I was very young. I remember sitting at the easel outside with my brother and painting for hours on end. I embarked on my journey to become a professional artist in college. I earned my bachelor’s degree from UC Davis in art studio and studied painting under Wayne Thiebaud.

Q. When and how did you start painting dogs?

A. I began painting my own pets a couple of years ago and only recently began the pet portrait series. I quickly discovered how rewarding it was to capture the spirit and personality of someone’s four-legged child on canvas with paints, working from a photograph.

Q. Are there any unique challenges or special rewards to painting dogs?

A. The first challenge I have is getting the correct outline sketch of the animal onto canvas. Since I don’t use pencils or any tracing tools, and capture the outline only from sight, this step can take the longest and is the most demanding. Just like humans, dogs have unique features and face shapes, which need to be accurately captured. My favorite step is finalizing the eyes. Once I capture the spirit in a pet’s eyes and surround their face with a colorful aura of color and movement, the reward is staring back at me from the canvas.

What made you want to paint a dog in need of adoption for the StubbyDog auction?

A. When I heard about the StubbyDog art auction, I was immediately intrigued. But I wasn’t going to paint just “any” pit bull. I wanted to highlight a dog that had been overlooked for too long. I know how slim the chances can be for an overlooked, misunderstood dog, and I hoped an original portrait could create a new possibility for him. A childhood friend of mine adopted a rescue pit bull, Cyrus, after college. Cyrus was the joy of her life, and even up to his final days, his gentle and sweet spirit was immeasurable. Contributing to the StubbyDog cause and choosing Devin as my model is my way to acknowledge this beautiful and misunderstood breed – and hopefully grab the attention of a forever family for Devin .

Q. What was it like painting Devin’s portrait for the StubbyDog auction?

A. Devin has such an energetic and loving spirit which was obvious from the moment I viewed his Facebook page. I began reading his fan’s comments and viewing all his photos, and I could tell that this dog, as many other dogs waiting for forever homes, needed more exposure. I was honored to be the one to highlight his sparkling eyes and quirky ears. My kids and I loved the playful expression on Devin’s face. He’s a great model!

Q. Anything else you’d like to add?

A. I wish I could paint a portrait for every rescued pet, every homeless dog and every animal waiting for a forever home. I hope that my compassion and contributions to these rescue organizations will inspire other artists to do the same and give a visual voice to pets in need. I think the more we give to those in need, including animals, the more fulfilling and meaningful our own lives become.

If you’d like to adopt Devin, please visit his Rescue Dog of the Week page for details.

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