About Animal and Pet Portrait Artist, Sue Mclachlan

Ever since Pet Portrait Artist Sue was at school she has painted, drawn and loved animals and pets, particularly the companion animal, so has been inspired by the love of these beautiful and cherished friends.

Painting has been my passion for most of my life.  I can remember painting and copying other artists work in my teenage years sitting in my bedroom using oils back then.  I joined a painting class which was local to where I lived with my parents near Guildford.  The artist, Leslie Cole, was an elderly gentleman and I learnt a lot from him, mainly landscape.  My idol was the work of John Constable and visited his home place a couple of years ago.

The love of animals has been a lifelong passion .  Cats were always part of my family and my biggest passion has been horses since I was 7 years old.  A huge fan of Norman Thelwell and always seeking out a horse to exercise wherever I was continued until having a family myself when it was impossible to keep up the horse riding.  I eventually got my own horse in my 40’s.  Whilst I was at Agricultural College 1978-80 I continued to paint and even painted the college itself.  Whilst pregnant with my first born I started painting particularly pets and my first exhibition was in the foyer of the Theatre Royal in Plymouth in 1991, where I worked whilst my husband’s job was based in Plymouth. 

I have painted pets professionally for the past 8 years after I had graduated with an MA Fine Art from Winchester School of Art in 2008.  Animal Magic Art, my Pet Portrait business, was set up in 2010 confident that my love of our pets and how important they are to us shows through in my work. I have painted a vast range of pets from the usual cats, dogs or horses to Koi Karp fish, lizards, chicken, cows, rabbits and Guinea pigs!

Having trained at art college in site specific and abstract art in my 40’s I often wonder why I returned to just copying an image with no challenge to my brain! But apart from the love of animals, especially the companion ones, there is something about how they truly do come alive as I paint.  My daughter told me once, when I questioned about just replicating a photo, that my paintings look like paintings and not just a photo.  When I have thought about this I realise that turning my art into a business has made me focus my art practice to the subject and its importance to the viewer.  I have cherished the moments when a tear comes to the eye of the client when they see the finished painting. 

I concentrate on just the pet with no interrupting background.  Sometimes when I stand back somehow their character leaps out at me even although I don’t know the pet as well as the owner. I can interpret them naturally and their eyes and character speaks becoming reality on paper.

I have a horse and a dog and look forward to may be having a cat again one day having lost my gorgeous tabby ‘Gus’ of 17 years in 2019.

Over the years I have perfected the traditional pet portrait painting in watercolour and also electronically with the ipad (iPet), but have worked with oils, pastels and crayons in different forms also.  As mentioned already, setting up Animal Magic Art has given me the opportunity to focus on subject and medium to offer a highly professional composition.  So I ultimately work mainly in watercolour and iPad drawings.  This is because these two mediums offer not only highly detailed and accurate forms of pet portraits, but different levels of affordability:-  A very special one off original watercolour OR a more affordable portrait the iPet.  The iPet is electronic and therefore can be repeat printed, this form of pet portrait is more versatile as can be printed onto different mediums.

I think art is a tricky subject to promote as beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  For Animal Magic Art it is just as important to have a good relationship with a client and subject (the pet), having enthusiasm for every pet one meets.  I have found even through my MA studies, artwork is all about experience and the artist has to set up this arena for experience between artwork and viewer and in my case, between artist, client, pet AND the artwork

My professional highly detailed artworks are not something you just hang on the wall, they are a reminder of that cherished friend. From photo shoot through updates of likeness to framing, as an Animal and Pet Portrait Artist customer service is also of the upmost.

From one animal lover to another let me indulge myself, giving you pleasure from my pleasure.

Graduating with an MA Fine Art from Winchester School of Art in 2008 Sue has exhibited her installation work but returned to painting in 2010 and set up Animal Magic Art confident that her love of animals and pets shows in her art work having a horse and a dog and numerous cats in the past of her own.  This is Gus below helping me!!

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