What are you at? Capturing pets in portraits

Whether it's pencils or paint, when Dana Malone starts a new pet portrait - it's all about the eyes.

Dana Malone has found a way to combine two of her greatest passions: animals and art

Dana Malone working on a portrait of her own cat who passed away, a project she says is close to her heart. (Maggie Gillis/CBC)

Whether it's pencils or paint, when Dana Malone starts a new pet portrait — it's all about the eyes.

"It's kind of ironic because even when I wasn't drawing I was forever doodling eyes, and it was good practice because eyes are the part I really obsess over now, and to me that's the part I have to get right on a portrait," she said while working on a painting at her home in Mount Pearl.

"That's where you see who they are."

Malone gave up drawing after high school, and really got back into art again about nine years ago. After her parent's golden setter passed away, she did a pencil drawing of the dog as a birthday present for her dad.

"That's when it really clicked for me and I thought, 'Why didn't I think of this before? My two great loves, animals and art.'"

Ginger and Mickey are two of the beloved pets Dana Malone has captured on canvas. (Dana Malone)

Malone's creations are often so realistic and moving, people cry when they see the finished work.

"The ones that surprise me the most, is when I have men come up to me at a show or in the supermarket and they get choked up ... and they want a hug and they want to just talk about it and thank me for creating something that brings back beautiful memories for them." 

This is one of Dana Malone's favourite portraits from last year, and she says the reference photo for the portrait made her stomach flip-flop when she saw it. (Dana Malone)

Malone, who has a full-time job in information technology, currently has a waitlist of about a year for one of her portraits.  

Do you have an interesting weekend project or hobby? Tell us what YOU are at. Email wam@cbc.ca or tweet @CBCWam.  

You can hear What are you at? This is it Saturdays on Weekend AM from 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. in most of Labrador) on CBC Radio One.  

About the Author

Maggie Gillis

Maggie Gillis is a news editor/presenter with CBC Newfoundland and Labrador in St. John's.