The Art Inquirer is your source of news for the artist and the Art appreciator
Established in 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Interview with Dee Dee Murry

National award winning artist, Dee Dee Murry specializes in realistic animal portraits.
Horses, dogs, cats and wildlife are her preferred subjects.
Dee Dee works with several mediums and prefers to use smooth surfaces.
She has a constant demanding for comissioned pet portraits and her multiple award winning art is owned by clients world wide.
The artist also keeps a store featuring Dachshund Art.

Q - From what age did you find out about your taste for drawing or painting ?

A - As far back as I can remember, I was always drawing, mainly horses at first. I can remember being very young and watching my Mom color in apples in a coloring book (for me to watch and then color myself) and being fascinated. I also remember her drawing horses in a little notebook that I still have somewhere…and then trying to copy them. From then on I have always drawn or painted. My Dad had a lot of artistic ability as did some of his relatives behind him.

Q - Were animals always your favourite subject and how they influenced you to concentrate more in your art ?

A - Yes animals always were and always will be my favorite things to paint. I have always loved animals, I grew up with horses and dogs and spent time with them every moment I could, showing both my horses and dogs as well. So it was natural to want to paint them. I went from painting mainly horses, to mainly wildlife, then did a lot of dog commissions, then back to horses…and now I have more of a balance of painting all animals. I try to balance commissions of pets and horses with the paintings I want to do, from my own photos and putting together my own compositions.

Q - You work with several mediums, do you have a preferred one ?

A – These days I pretty much work exclusively with acrylics for painting (I do pencil work as well). I experimented with many different mediums and combinations of them but I am most comfortable now with acrylics. I have taken workshops from Terry Isaac, Dan Smith and David Kitler (all acrylic painters) and have learned some wonderful techniques from them.

Q - Is that the most preferred by your customers ?

A - Yes most of my commissions request acrylic.

Q - When you paint pets, you paint them from real life, photos or both ?

A - I always paint them from a photo. If they are in my area though, I always try to go visit them so I can get a feel for their personality and see things the photo may not show. I have also taken a lot of photos of stallions of different breeds (Friesian, Andalusian, Arabian, etc) at different farms and had them gallop them at liberty, as I like to paint action and more unusual poses if possible. (this for the paintings I do for myself not commissions).

Q - What about wildlife ? Do you work from photos, travel to places or go to the zoo ?

A - I always work from my own photos. I have a few zoo photos but I really don’t use them as the animals are often not in the best of shape as a wild animal would be and don’t strike too unusual of poses. We have a wonderful animal park here called Northwest Trek where the animals are free roaming and you can ride a tram through and get great shots of elk, mountain goats, bison, moose, caribou, bighorn, etc. Then you can walk through the rest of the park to see bears, cougars, lynx, bobcat, cougar, etc in large enclosures. I have been on several photo gathering trips to Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, and all around the pacific northwest here where I live. My best wildlife photos though I just got this September in Montana at Troy Hydes “Animals in Montana”. He has wonderfully trained animals, for movies and photo shoots, and he takes them out in the morning and evening when the lighting is the best, and they are loose in the wilderness with us with beautiful backgrounds. I got hundreds of photos of lion, tiger, grizzly, black bear, cougar, fox, wolves, black leopard, skunk, bobcat, porcupine, pine marten, and raccoon. He has them run, jump from trees, the grizzly swam and played in a river, the wolves howled and ran, etc. It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to start painting them.

Q - When in the process of developing an artwork, what are you trying to achieve in technical and emotional terms ?

A - For commissions, I am trying to capture the essence of the animal as well as the likeness. I always ask the owner about the animals personality and what they would most like to have come across in the portrait. I love detail and realism (hopefully without crossing over to illustrative) so I try to get every hair right. For the paintings I compose myself, my goal is usually to capture a moment in time when the lighting is beautiful or dramatic, and the pose is very noble or a great pose in a gallop stride or a jump, etc…maybe with mane and tail flying in the wind for a horse…something that would make you wish you could have been standing there in real life to see this moment in time, without it seeming like fantasy, but something that really could have happened for at least a split second. I strive for realism and detail but more importantly I want to evoke an emotion (hopefully a positive one!) and create a bit of a magical atmosphere. I love wind and storms and the ocean so I like to have animals with longer hair, being blown about in the wind often. I don’t know that I always achieve all this but that is usually my aim.

Q - What are in your opinion the most important features that a portrait artist should have to succeed ?

A - In my experience, the people that hire me to paint their animals want realism. They want to capture their animal in a flattering pose and have every hair the same, and to down play any flaws they may have without changing them completely. So I think the most important thing to succeed would be to be able to capture the animals likeness as well as their personality and to portray it with a lot of detail. They like to be able to see the nobblies on a dogs nose or shine to the wet lips, the little striations in their irises, etc.

Thank you for granting this interview and I wish you the continuation of success with your art.
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roentarre said...

This is an amazing interview. For a lot of time, people cannot even effectively communicate to each other while this lady is able to feel and sense the lively being of animals to draw them out.

This is an incredible story

Michelle said...

Thanks for visiting my site. Great interview here. Very informative!