Worth a thousand words: Artist helps memorialize dead pets

MIDDLEBORO – Caitlin Sweeney does more than create intricate works of art through her business. Color Me K8. Sweeney said the majority of her customers come to her to buy memorial drawings of their pets who have passed away, and the conversation Sweeney has had while creating her commissions is to help people cope with their loss. I can help.

“I understand how hard it is,” Sweeney said. “I’ve lost quite a few pets in my family and (each one) has been such a great member of our household. Their presence is truly missed when they’re gone.”

The Middleboro-based artist began focusing on pet portraits after the death of her childhood cat, a 17-year-old black cat named Furter.

After that, things “snowballed,” Sweeney said. “I finished a couple of my dogs, and just offered them to family and friends.” She now accepts commissions from clients through her business, Color Me K8.

“Having something there to remind (people) of all the good times they had with their pets is really important,” she added. The pets in Sweeney’s artwork look like they could jump off the page at any moment. This is no accident, he explained. Sweeney spends time with each of her clients discussing each pet’s personality, and this information helps her capture the spirit of each critter.

“People tell me all about their pets’ little quirks and personalities, and it makes them come alive when I’m working on them,” she added.

This conversation not only helps create a realistic drawing, but can also help her clients process their grief over the loss of their pet.

“I believe that talking about our losses can help us manage some of the feelings that come with grief,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney added, “When you miss your pet, it can feel a different kind of grief (less than that) … When people look at pictures of their pets, I want them to have good moments. remember, and all the joy their animals bring them in the brief. time they have with us.”

He explained that most of his work is done with colored pencils. While she also does oil paintings, colored pencil drawings are quicker to produce, which allows her to make them more affordable.

In addition to her pet portraits, Sweeney uses her talent for art to help the environment.

Sweeney works with One Tree Planted, a non-profit that plants trees in various countries around the world. He is part of its Tree Ambassador Program, a partnership where volunteers like Sweeney help raise funds and awareness for the cause, and has contributed one of his drawings to Art for Trees. , an online raffle that will run the week of Christmas.

“Forests are one of the things I feel strongly about,” Sweeney said. “Our cities must have trees and greenery.”

Sweeney said it’s important to support creatives, and especially creative children.

Sweeney’s mother was training to be an art teacher when she was growing up, and Sweeney credits her passion for art to her mother’s inspiration and the artwork displayed around their home.

Sweeney said that her pet drawing work grew out of her love of drawing animals as a child – especially horses, because the texture of their fur was “fun to play around with”.

“I don’t think people realize how important it is to help kids create,” Sweeney said.

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