WILTON, Conn. — Wilton's Susan Kurnit always always had a passion for art.
“If you asked me what I wanted to be when I was in kindergarten, I would say I want to be an artist,” Kurnit told Daily Voice.
So Kurnit sketched and painted for years. But now she is sharing her love of art and animals by painting animal “pet-traits” for pet owners.
The transition from painting for herself to painting for others didn’t come easily. Like many artists, Kurnit was ambivalent about sharing her work. But once she overcame that unease, she created a balance.
“When you paint for yourself, nobody else has to like it,” Kurnit said. “But once you actually do it for people, then you want to make sure they like what you’re doing without sacrificing your particular style.”
Kurnit can paint a portrait from a good photograph. She asks her clients bring out their favorite or most expressive feature of their pets — whether they are dogs, cats, horses or other animals.
The portraits, which she plans to make 12 inches by 16 inches, are the perfect size, she said. “It’s big enough that you can really see [their] face but not so big that you’re overwhelmed,” she said.
Kurnit, who has painted for 30 years, said she has never wanted to paint anything but people and animal life. “When your painting something living, you could sort of capture the life essence in the painting,” she said.
Kurnit, an animal lover herself, has two labs — a brother and a sister pair. She’s deeply attached to them. “I couldn’t love them any more if they were human,” she said.
Kurnit is currently studying under noted illustrator and painter Steve Parton, who is on the faculty of The Silvermine School of Art in New Canaan . She is also studying with Althea Ericson, a portrait painter.
Her “pet-traits” are on display at the Wilton Library. They will also make an appearance at Ridgefield’s Art Walk in August.
For more information on Kurnit and her “pet-traits,” visit her website here .