A Magical World of Dogs: Interview with artist Kathryn Freeman

Saturday, January 18, 2014 by


Young Girl and Two Dogs, oil on panel, 20″ x 24″


Kathryn Freeman takes dog art to a better place, she has dogs portrayed in real life situations, a narrative form that offers a reference point for the viewer, and Kathryn still captures the unique personalities of her subjects. I was delighted she accepted my invitation to partake in an interview with Canine Collectables Courier . Kathryn was in kindergarten when she discovered she could draw, and her favourite subject was the famous horse species. “I have always loved dogs and I think I have included dogs in most of the paintings I have done over my 30 plus year career as an artist. In recent years they have increasingly become the lead characters in many of my works!”


Kathryn describes her works as, “I would say that my work is sort of poetic realism. I do not aspire to be photographic in the degree of detail, but rather portray the essence of whoever or whatever I am painting. My narrative paintings have been referred to in reviews as Magic Realism.” She paints in oil, gouache, and for very large murals she works with matte fluid acrylics.

Boys and Dogs, oil on panel, 18″ x 24″

White Socks, oil on panel, 20″ x 24″

I just felt Kathryn had plans up her sleeve, “I have been planning for a while to do a series of paintings of dogs in cars. My own dog, Rembrandt loves to ride in the car. He would prefer the drivers seat if allowed. I love seeing a dog with his head out the window as if he is the proud owner of the vehicle. I have done some sketches but I haven’t started the paintings yet.”

“I have considered making my ‘dogs in cars’ series into cards or a book but I don’t have any concrete plans yet. I have also illustrated two children’s books with dogs. One is title ‘Loon Chase‘ by Jean Heilprin Diehl and published by Sylvan Dell, about a Springer Spaniel, and another that is available on Utales.com as a digital book called ‘The Baker Dog’ about a dog who likes to bake cakes.”

Sample illustrations from ‘Loon Chase’ by Jean Heilprin Diehl and published by Sylvan Dell

Samples illustrations from Kathruyn’s own book ‘The Baker Dog’ about a dog who likes to bake cakes.

Kathryn’s works are extensively represented and catalogued,  “My work can be viewed on my website, www.kathrynfreeman.com. My paintings are also available at a number of galleries including Marin-Price Galleries in Bethesda, Maryland, and at Studio E Gallery in West Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

“I have a blog where I post recent work, and work in progress, and where I also write about my paintings.

” I have limited edition giclee prints available of many of my paintings on request. They are printed on beautiful archival watercolor paper by Fine Print Inc. in Fort Collins, Colorado. They are available through my website and they are also available on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/KathrynFreemanStudio .”

Portrait of Plutarque, oil on panel, 20″ x 24″

Willy and Steve, oil on panel, 24″ x 36″ also a portrait commission

Finding older original pieces can be a challenge, I asked Kathryn for some tips, “That is a good question. I know I have had pieces go up to auction on occasion but I can’t say specifically when or where.”

I asked if Kathryn was interested in doing commissions, “Yes. I love to do commissioned paintings.” Kathryn also teaches and offers workshops privately and teaches at Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, DC.

Four panels from the Dog Park Series each section is 20″ x 24″

So now we have touched on the core of what Kathryn produces, let’s look at bit more at her inner soul and driving force, I wanted to know which was her favourite dog breed, “Oh my gosh- that is so hard to say. I have always loved large working dogs and hounds. I also have an affinity for the bully breeds. My current dog is a Mastiff, Lab and Pitt mix and he is absolutely wonderful with a keen sense of comedy. My dog that preceded him was a Coonhound, Rottweiler, and Doberman mix and he was the most intuitive dog I have ever known. And I have to admit that I have a recent obsession with Pugs. I am a fan of Mid Atlantic Pug Rescue and stalk their website daily. There is something about the face of an older pug that is indescribable. I hope there is one in my future.”

Merry and Ducky, oil on panel, 20″ x 24″

So what is ‘it’ about dogs that really appeals to the inner artist in Kathryn? “I guess it was growing up with many dogs as well as being involved with a lot of strays and rescue dogs; but somehow I just really feel the soul of a dog. I truly believe that dogs complete us in some way. I feel that they have certain attributes that we humans are lacking and having dogs makes us better. I also love the form, shape and gestures of dogs.”

The Admirer, oil on panel, 24″ x 30″


I hoped Kathryn would share one of her favourite stories related to her work. “I have so many stories about my paintings it is hard to pick one, but one of the funniest is this: One day I was painting in my studio which was sort of a garden shed in a field near my house. I was working on an egg tempera painting of two dogs. At that time I had a little Scottie Mix named George (named after my grandfather). He always hung out with me in my studio. Well on this particular day, I took the painting outside and rested it against the shed to look at it in the daylight. Then I went inside the house to have lunch. When I came back out I saw George standing right in front of the painting. I wasn’t sure what he was doing but when I got closer I saw that he was licking! And he had licked a hole right in the middle of the painting, clear down to the gesso, obliterating both dogs. The lesson learned here is never leave an egg tempera painting within reach of a dog, as dogs love egg yolk! (George suffered no consequences from this little dietary mishap!)”


Dolly and Marielle, oil on panel, 20″ x 24″

And I am delighted to say, it didn’t take much prompting to find out a little bit more about Kathryn, “I have enjoyed several books recently about dogs, including ‘A Wolf in the Parlor’ by Jon Franklin. I am also a big fan of the blog Dog Art Today. It highlights daily the most incredible pieces of dog related art, both contemporary and from history, and spotlights some wonderful dog artists. In terms of fiction, I adored the novel ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain‘ by Garth Stein. The narrator is a dog who has more sense than most humans.”

“I love the dogs in the frescoes of the early Italian Renaissance painter Piero Della Francesca. I guess they are a type of greyhound, but the beauty of their form in the frescoes inspired me to put dogs in my paintings. I also love a self-portrait that Gustave Courbet did of himself with his black dog. I am not sure of the breed but I might guess it is a flat-coated retriever.”

Blues for Dogs

The White Hound, oil on panel, 24″ x 36″


Kathryn Freeman

contact email paintings@kathrynfreeman.com

contact address 6917 Woodside Place, Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA

main website www.kathrynfreeman.com

short bio Kathryn Freeman is a narrative painter who combines classical composition with magic realism. Freeman’s paintings have been exhibited in galleries in Europe and across the United States, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Boston, Washington, and Baltimore. Her paintings are in numerous private and public collections and she has completed several large-scale public mural commissions including two, three-story murals for the Main Public Library in Jacksonville, Florida, designed by AM Stern Architects, which opened in November 2005. Freeman has been the recipient of an Ingram Merrill Fellowship, an Elizabeth Greenshield Foundation Fellowship and three, Maryland State Council of the Arts Individual Artist Awards. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Arts Magazine, Art Forum, American Artist and numerous other publications. Freeman has also illustrated several children’s picture books including Loon Chase, by Jean Heilprin Diehl, published by Sylvan Dell. Freeman has taught drawing and painting at the Corcoran College of Art and Design since 1996. Previous to that she taught at the New York Academy of Art and Brooklyn College. She received her MFA from Brooklyn College and BFA from the University of New Hampshire. She also studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Related Posts


Share This

Leave a Reply