john hemmen art

Statement for Animal Paintings

Animals are a continuing attraction as subjects in my work. Although I have painted a significant array of animals, I have focused mostly on horses and fish, and to a lesser degree on canines and felines. Each of these holds a special attraction to me because of the emotions they bring. I believe these emotions are universal.

Four Hourses Horses represent freedom, beauty, strength, a simpler life, a harder life, an attachment to nature. They have such beautiful shapes in all poses, whether running or standing. Their forms are wonderful to draw and paint, almost like women. They are a muse for me.
Salmon painting Fish are fluid flowing forms. They represent relaxation, beauty, movement, change. They are like paint itself. You can dress them up in color or mute them down into their water medium. You can’t help but look at them moving in water, watching them float or suddenly zip away, elusive, once here, now gone. They are but a stepping stone from the wild to your dinner plate, if you can catch them. Catching them in paint is just as elusive.
dog painting Canines come in so many forms, colors, and temperaments. I can almost throw any blob of paint on a canvas and turn it into a dog doing something. As a result they are fun to paint. Besides representing this playfulness and expression, they represent noise, companionship, loyalty, and wolves represent watchfulness, intelligence, the wide open wild.
Tige painting Felines represent detachment, creature comfort, the unexpected. Domestic cats are like pillows, lying here and there in favorite spots, but I am more interested in the larger cats. Tigers have fascinated me since childhood. They engender fear and respect, something there lurking ready to pounceß. They are the unknown, the primitive, the jungle, the night.

So in my animal works I am trying to capture the animal spirit of that moment, have it represent some emotion, make you take another look at it, see something else. The animal is the vehicle to draw you into the work.