Adeline Halvorson knew at an early age that she wanted to be an artist. In her rural upbringing, animals, especially horses, played a very important role. Her entire working life has been dedicated to her art career. Through experimentation, endless reading and hours of practice, she continually hones her techniques in acrylic or oil.
She spends most of her time researching and creating the paintings she markets to a growing group of collectors. She enjoys the variety of diverse subjects – floral, still life, dogs, or a childhood scene, and most often, her favorite equine subject matter. Years of riding and grooming horses has given Halvorson a knowledge of anatomy and muscle movement that her painting skills bring to life on the canvas. The shapes and movement of muscle, variety and texture of harness and trappings, as well as the horse and its interaction with its human counterparts provide endless artistic inspiration for one who grew up with a love for one of the world’s most beautiful animals.
“My growth as an artist is of prime importance to me. I am continually researching new and better ways to approach my painting, all the while keeping in mind that “brush mileage” is my greatest teacher. I paint the subjects that are true to my heart, and definitely believe the words of Sir Winston Churchill:”
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man”
Marjolein’s emotional connection to everything that crawls, flies, grows and blooms in her garden is clearly expressed in her work. Especially the details that most people overlook in nature prove an inspiration for Marjolein. The urge to make people pay more attention to those details has kept Marjolein at her desk for over thirty years.
An entire industry has grown up around Mary Engelbreit, but it all began with a young girl who just wanted to draw pictures.
“My mother and father were always very supportive of anything my sister and I wanted to do. When I was about 11 years old, I decided I needed a studio. My mother cleaned out a linen closet and my father put a table and chair in there for me and voila! I had a studio! Since my parents seemed to value what I was doing enough to go to all this trouble, I took it very seriously and worked non-stop. At first I would copy my favorite illustrations from the old books my mother read to us each night, but slowly I developed my own style.
We had a wonderful, idyllic childhood—playing in the woods and the creek, building forts, playing kickball after dinner with all the neighborhood kids. The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was school. As soon as I finished high school I wanted to start my working life! My first job was at an art supply store, where I met lots of working artists and learned about all the tools of the trade. My second job was at a small advertising agency, where I learned a lot about the business side of art. Those two jobs provided an amazing art education that I don’t think I would have gotten at college. I’ve never regretted for a moment not going.”
In 1977, she took her portfolio to some well-known publishing houses in New York, hoping to get work illustrating children’s books. She received a “mild reception” and a suggestion from one art director that she try her hand illustrating greeting cards. It wasn’t what she’d hoped for, as she’d already illustrated several hand-drawn lines of cards for local shops, but Mary took the advice and quickly found that the single-frame illustrations for greeting cards were ideal for her style and sense of humor.
Once Mary focused her talent on greeting cards, success came quickly. As her card line grew in size and popularity, it drew attention from other companies anxious to license her artwork on a wide range of products including calendars, T-shirts, mugs, gift books, rubber stamps, ceramic figurines, fabric and a list that’s grown to include nearly 6,500 products over the years, with more than $1 billion in lifetime retail sales. Mary was also editor-in-chief of the award-winning creative lifestyle magazine, Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion for 11 years.
Mary Engelbreit Studios continues to add new licensees and product categories. Nearly 30 years after that first trip to New York, Mary fulfilled her dream of illustrating children’s books, and is now one of a select few artists with three New York Times children’s best sellers. She is now returning to where she started with her own line of products, all made here in the USA, called Paperworks. It is an ever-growing line of blank cards, boxed cards, coloring books, with new items being added all the time. It’s all available for purchase at her online store along with her many other licensed products. Her Paperworks line is also available wholesale to independent shops everywhere.
” I plan to drop dead at my art table. I can’t explain to you the pleasure and true happiness I get from drawing! I’m just so glad other people like it, too!
Mary lives with her family in St. Louis, MO.
From a log cabin in the woods, deep in the aspens between Flagstaff, Arizona and the Grand Canyon, artist Leslie Anderson of Ellay Artware Inc. creates custom and unique works of art for people who are nuts about animals. Leslie is an Arizona native with a fine arts education and more than twenty years of experience as an animal lover, painter and sculptor. Her work can be found in private collections from coast to coast as well as abroad.
I was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1962. Animals and art have always been two of the most important things in my life. Both have given me a sense of value and purpose.
Growing up in a rather isolated area, a good 8–10 miles away from friends and schoolmates can give a little girl a lot of time to develop artistic inclinations as well as the chance to discover the unequalled friendship that animals offer. I entered all the state fairs and other art competitions I could when I was little. My subjects were always animals and the recognition I received encouraged me to reach ever higher. All of my early disappointments were countered by the unconditional love of my furry friends. Having been a shy and somewhat insecure teen, I am convinced that I survived those difficult years thanks to my pets and my artistic outlets.
When I was presented with the chance to go to college I chose, of course, to major in fine art and also happily explored equine science.
I married my husband Howard in 1984. Howard always believed in my gifts and encouraged me to pursue a career in art and advised me in business, his area of expertise.
In 1991 we left the “fast-track” of the nations sixth largest city and moved with one dog, one horse and two birds to a remote acreage in the aspens north of Flagstaff and began to build our “little log-cabin paradise.” Howard did all of the physical labor and I painted as much as I could, as fast as I could, to help finance our adventure.
I first gained public and media attention by painting animal portraits on some rather unusual canvases. My initial exposure came from the generosity of my local Petsmart as they allowed me to advertise my work with a small display in their store. This exposure led to getting my work in some of the finest and most exclusive boutiques and gift shops in Arizona: To name a few,
Armoire at El Pedregal
Cherubini at the Borgata
Suzannes at the Biltmore
Mackie’s Parlour in the Hilton village
My most requested work was my “Paw-ket Pet Portrait”, a unique, hand-painted pet portrait on the pocket of a fine garment. I painted everything from dogs and cats and horses to pet birds, reptiles, lemurs and even sugar gliders. Hand painting animals on antiques, pillows, wall-murals and other home furnishings also helped to keep us fed and sheltered.
In the early ‘90’s I began to do a lot of traveling to dog and horse shows in the west. I became known in these shows as “the Rock Lady” – as most of my portraits were now being painted “3-dimensionally” on hand picked river rocks.
In 1997 I opened a small gift shop/art gallery in the historic downtown area of Flagstaff. Local news media dubbed me the “Picasso of Pets.” Flagstaff being a gateway to the Grand Canyon attracts thousands of visitors from across our nation as well as internationally and this exposure in my little Flagstaff shop lead to my “discovery” by magazines and catalogues likeDog Fancy, Dog World and Puttin’ on the Dog as well as a licensing contract with New York manufacturer Fiddlers Elbow, a division of the Toy Works.
With Fiddlers Elbow, my portraits on stone went from “hard rock” to “soft” as they reproduced my original images on fabric to create pillows, flags, door stops, “Pupper-Weights”™ and door-mats.
One of my greatest sources of satisfaction has been connecting with people who have had the same magical relationships with their animals that I have experienced with mine. It is this group of people for whom I paint and whose respect I most prize. It is for them that I strive to capture the sense of beauty, spirit and joy that our animals have given to us.
Ok, so… you may be asking yourself, “what is an ellay?” Well it is simply my trademark signature, found on all of my work and it is pronounced L.A (my initials, not the city!)