Susan Pollard Gillespie

RESIDENCE: Carrollton, Texas

BACKGROUND: My father taught me to draw when I was a child in England. I spent countless hours drawing and painting. I earned my degree in art in the United States. I?ve also taken workshops including portraiture with Daniel Greene. I study continuously, learning from magazines and books. Each month I attend a critique session where a local artist, Andrew Wages, advises a group of us about the design and execution of our latest paintings.


Ricky Westhuahua (oil, 14×11) by Susan Pollard Gillespie was a finalist in the 2004 Art Competition in the Animal Art category.

INSPIRATION FOR RICKY WESTHUAHUA: Ricky, the subject of this painting, is a little dog with a lot of charm, which I wanted to capture in oil paint. I asked the owner, a friend, if I could paint him. The owner wanted the Chihauhaun and Scottish heritage of her dog depicted. I chose a Chihauhuan pot and a Scottish tartan carpet of compatible colors to make the composition. The biggest challenge was to get the perspective right on the tartan carpet. To make sure I was accurate I took a sample of my husband?s clan tartan and used PhotoShop to create the right perspective. The fun part was painting the soft fur to make Ricky fluffy.

HOW LONG DID YOU WORK ON THIS PAINTING?: From photos to finished work, an oil painting usually takes four to six weeks. I?m a methodical painter, using close observation to capture expression and character. I paint for a maximum of four hours a day. I lose concentration and quality suffers if I try to work longer. Ricky Westhauhau took four weeks to complete from initial photos.

Kate Meschis an assistant editor for The Artist’s Magazine.

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