Blog / 2022 / Where My Mind Is When I Paint

November 22, 2022

[video transcript]

If you want to buy some of my original art, see what’s available here! The t-shirts, totes, pillows, postcards, and everything else are in my Redbubble shop.

acrylic painting of a tortoiseshell cat, illustration by pet artist Gwenn Seemel
Gwenn Seemel
acrylic on paper
6 x 4 inches

The series I mentioned in the video, Friend Request, is currently on display in Winifred Weiss’ studio window in Lambertville, New Jersey, and the show has been extended into December!

Winifred’s studio window
17 Church Street
(at the intersection with George)
Lambertville, NJ 08530

Open: now through December 12th
Hours: whenever (you can look in from the street)

little black dog acrylic painting by pet artist Gwenn Seemel
Gwenn Seemel
acrylic on paper
6 x 4 inches

When I’m painting a cat like this one, whose name is Sage, my only concern is with making the artwork look like the subject. I’m focused on getting the colors and brushstrokes just so, and, if I’m thinking of anything else, I’m thinking about how I might make this painting appealing to more than just the humans who love this cat. I’m trying to work out how I can make this artwork interesting if you don’t know Sage at all.

I’m never thinking of this, the t-shirt I might design with Sage’s face on it. The same is true for all the pets I paint—and for all the pets I painted for my newest series of portraits called Friend Request. There are 44 paintings in all, 23 of people and 21 of pets, and I put all 21 pets on a variety of arty items in my print shop.

Now I know there are some artists who design their artworks with t-shirts and totes in mind, making art that will look good on specific printed items. There’s nothing wrong with that way of working, obviously. I understand the need to make art that way. Painters are rarely paid for all the value they bring to our lives, so if designing art for t-shirts is what allows a maker to get paid, I am all for it.

Still, I definitely live less in the world of printing and more in the world of painting. I make my art available on pillows and postcards, because cutting off this potential source of income doesn’t make sense, but my focus is on putting brush—and finger tip—to paper, like with this portrait of Mya.

And that’s ultimately because I’d rather sell originals than prints any day. Nothing makes me happier than to see an object I made with my own two hands go to its new home, leaving me with money to pay my rent and keep on painting. There’s a magic in that exchange that’s hard to explain. It’s like when people spend their hard earned money on my original artwork, that tangible exchange grounds me. I feel a part of the world in a way that I don’t usually get to.

I’m so grateful for every person who’s ever made me feel real in this way.

This video is made with love and microdonations from my community!

Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!


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