My Paintings for Patients and Pooches by Marilyn Evans

Now through September 29 in McFarland Hall

About the Artist, Marilyn Evans

My love of art took root in childhood when I eagerly anticipated the art teacher’s weekly visit. This exhibit includes my first known dog portrait, circa 1958, which features our family Dalmatian, Pepper. I interpret this attempt as foreshadowing my eventual desire to capture many dogs on canvas. It wasn’t until mid-life that I seriously picked up a brush, and only then because my mother gave me a gift of painting classes that I felt compelled to use. Sometimes mothers DO know best, as I owe the joy that I find in painting to her “gentle nudging.” My creative journey began twenty years ago in an introductory oil painting class at the Indianapolis Art Center; this after I flunked a couple of classes in basic watercolor. To my delight, I discovered that oil paint is much more forgiving than watercolor and therefore fit my needs! With the guidance of patient teachers Ardis Harsche, John Reynolds and Lois Davis, I developed more confidence in my abilities. In 2006 I took the plunge to lease studio space in Broad Ripple. Today I’m fortunate to share a studio with four artists in SoBro near the Monon Trail. Over the years, the luxury of a space dedicated to the pursuit of art has enabled me to focus and grow and has become equivalent to my own personal sanctuary.

Landscapes and still life initially intrigued me, but quickly animals, particularly farm animals, became my favorite subjects. While immersed in painting sheep, cows, and the occasional rooster, a friend asked if I would paint her black Labrador Retriever. Soon I was flooded with similar requests and, much to my surprise, I became mostly a painter of dogs, from Great Danes to chihuahuas. Although this wasn’t a niche I sought, I continue to have great fun with it! Everyone is sure that THEIR dog is the most special in the world. Every dog I’ve ever painted has a unique story behind it and, for a time at my easel, I feel that I truly get to know that dog. A well-known subject is Henry Holcomb, First Dog of Indiana, yet each dog is most precious in the eyes of its owner. After so many years, I’m now painting second and third generations of family pets; occasionally a cat or even a horse, but overwhelmingly it’s a dog.

My “payment” for these paintings, other than the gratification that
comes from the happiness that they bring to others, is a donation to
Riley Hospital’s art therapy program (Paintings for Patients) or to
IndyHumane (Paintings for Pooches). The creation of these funds has
been a win-win, as it provides a bonafide purpose for me to sit down at
my easel. I get to do something I love while supporting two of my
favorite causes.

A big THANK YOU to those who graciously loaned their paintings for
this exhibit. It is very gratifying for me to see so many familiar faces
gathered in one space!

For inquiries about commissioned “pawtraits,” contact Marilyn Evans at MarilynEvans@comcast.net.