An artist and author’s love of animals is currently being featured at the Schlow Library, 211 S. Allen St.
The exhibition, “The Art of Being a Pet: Portraits by Rachel DiAndrea,” is located in the library’s Betsy Rodgers Allen Gallery and is on display through the month of March.
“My inspiration came from the release of my first children’s book,” Rachel DiAndrea, the artist, said.
DiAndrea said many photographs of local pets that she has gathered over 35 years of being an animal artist fell into line with what the book was about.
One of the main points of the book, she said, is that although owners love their pets, the definition of what type of animal constitutes a pet can be different for everyone.
“It’s been on a list of accomplishments I’ve wanted to do for a long time as an artist,” DiAndrea said.
DiAndrea said she started the book four years ago as she was battling cancer and found it incorporated a lot of therapeutic help. She said working with her art supported her in getting better and allowed her to give something back.
“I thought it was better late then never to begin the process,” DiAndrea said.
DiAndrea has always had a strong love and admiration for animals and initially planned on becoming a veterinarian, she said.
She said she decided to change direction and go into illustration as a career after a high school art teacher told her she had the talent to pursue art on a professional scale.
To DiAndrea, art is about transmitting your passion into a two or three dimensional piece and she has found that in animals.
“I love the eyes, the face, the personality,” DiAndrea said. “I endeavor to show the soul of the animal in my work.”
Wendy Klemick, public relations and marketing manager for Schlow Library, said she thinks the vibrant engaging show is perfect for brightening up the winter.
“She’s clearly talented and has a great sense of joy in the things that she’s painting, and that’s fun to see,” Klemick said.
Klemick said the animals featured in her work are “appealing and expressive.”
Maria Burchill, the gallery coordinator at Schlow Library, said the fact that DiAndrea is both an illustrator and author sets her apart from artists that have been featured in the past.
“It’s always fun to tie those two artistic mediums together,” Burchill said.
Klemick said she thinks the charming rhyming text is appealing for children.
“People have many different kinds of pets, and I think everybody can appreciate this,” Burchill said.