Friday, October 11, 2013

Animal Companions- each line and brush stroke tells a story.

Hi everyone, Desiree Habicht here! I love this months theme, Animal companions, I have painted so many over the years it was hard to narrow down what pictures I would post! I have sketched, quilted, painted animals of all kinds. My house has always been full of animal lovers and animals. When our children were younger we raised horses, dogs, goats, cows, bunnies and chickens etc, you name it we probably had it.

Jennifer went on to work for a vet and managed a no kill shelter where we often fostered animals until they found good homes. I love to paint animals but I love the story behind the painting even better. Every time I paint something there is always a story, a personal story, a visual story but a story. One of the great things about our sketchbooks is that we can also journal the story along with drawing and painting the sketches. I have been telling my stories and others peoples stories for a long time, and I love it! Are you journaling your stories?

          At one of the animal walk fundraisers for the shelter I quickly sketched some of the dogs there. The owners are so excited to share their wonderful rescue stories.

I often am commissioned to do animal portraits, because people just love their pets. Our pets give us an unconditional love that we can get no where else. They offer comfort and love without judgement, and are always happy to see us. The tricky part can be getting them to sit still long enough to draw and paint them.
This painting is called "One eyed Jack". Jack only has one eye and the light from the window was so bright it made that side of his face disappear which I loved for my pastel painting.
This is another commissioned piece done in pastels

Because I love to paint animals so much I paint them in many different styles from whimsical, to realistic and everything in-between.
I always use a camera or my phone camera, which I always have on me, to capture my subject and freeze them. If they lay down or are still I like to do quick life study drawing as practice. I often use these later to help me capture the animals personality and likeness for a more complete sketch or painting.

I have also included animals in the fabric I have designed, making them whimsical and fun or turning them into quilt patterns.
Sketch in fabric
My sketch
                 I have many whimsical quilt patterns that are all about animals on my website if you would like to check them out.

I recently did a little quilt for Quilting Arts magazine, you will be able to see it in the magazine March 2014. It is of Chloe, our Boston Terrier that Jennifer trained to be her service dog. People are always amazed when they see her. Boston Terriers are very high energy dogs but when Chloe has her vest on she knows she is working and is all too serious. 
Fabric, paint and a love charm!

She hangs on Jennifer's every word and although in her early days of training our mail was often delivered with holes and slobber she learned. She is anxious to please and loves her job. She is our pet, but she is Jennifer's everything, they are inseparable. That is what a companion is all about. 

As you can tell, I love to sketch, paint and sew animals, they are wonderful subjects in any style or medium. They are special companions in this life, sharing our homes and we sharing theirs. I can't wait to see what all of you have sketched or painted this month and learn more about your stories! I also just posted a sketch and story of a cute rescued dog on my blog, I hope you will pop over and read his story and leave a comment, its so nice to hear from all of you!! Look for my free downloadable PDF Pincushion Pets pattern on my blog and sign up for my Newsletter!  Happy Sketching.


  1. I loved your post! And the artwork that went along with it. Yes, those pets wiggle right into our home and hearts, don't they?

  2. Very nice post! I particularly like the pincushions - they might encourage me to sew!

    1. Thanks Valerie, they are fairly easy and little sewing!

  3. I am sure you know how much I love Boston's and that drawing is amazing, my favorite. No, all your work is my favorite!

  4. Oh Desiree, your St. Bernard portrait just melts my heart. It looks just like Lucy, a St. Bernard that gave us ten years of love, laughter and joy.

    1. Trig thanks Terri, those are the stories I love to hear!

  5. I am such a dog lover and found each of your sketches just heartwarming. The quilt is to die for. You have such an eye for catching the dogs with the perfect expression.

  6. I love the KC Cav! Looks exactly like my Blossom. My fur babies. She's 3 and we had her twin brother but lost him in June- my heart still aches for him. You do such a marvelous thing in capturing these loves!

  7. Desiree!! These are so fabulous, all your sketches make me smile. Lovely work.