Meet the Artist
Hello there! I am Jen Keavey, an animal portrait artist, living on an organic farm near Galway, Ireland and working from my home studio.
To create my artworks I use textiles and coloured pencils to turn photographs of wildlife, equines and pets into beautiful works of art.
I create portraits using two different mediums. Textile portraits where I use fabric and stitch to build up the portrait, and coloured pencil portraits where I use my pencils to capture the animal. In preliminary discussions I talk with you about what you prefer and what would best suit your ideas for a portrait.
Growing up I was surrounded by creativity… my Dad was passionate about music and my Mum always had a needle and thread in hand, creating all sorts of things. She, in turn, learned from her mother, who was a gifted seamstress. My Dad’s mother was a talented artist, and I like to think that in me, all these talents have come together as a unique inherited gift.
Until relatively recently I never really thought I was that good at art, as while I could copy things, I couldn’t draw very well from my imagination. A whole world opened up for me when I realised that creating art from a reference picture is an artform in itself and I have never looked back! I am constantly learning and refining my technique and my processes are ever evolving.
I have always loved creating, and my artistic path has led me down many roads. Every time I return to animals and all their infinite variety. I have a particular fascination with eyes, which I feel are windows to the soul. All my portraits are created with the eyes as the focus, where the character of the animal truly shines through.
After school I went on to become a primary school teacher (so I could still have access to the art cupboard!!). Over the years I have inspired many children to explore their creativity and have confidence with art. In recent years I have run very successful children’s art clubs and workshops, always with an emphasis on the children finding and expressing their unique voice through their art.
The animals I share my life with bring me so much pleasure. Growing up we had a range of animals in our family, from dogs to rabbits and guineapigs. Horses were, and still are, my great passion and I went to the local stables whenever I could. As an adult my life has been touched by many animals, most of them rescued. Those that have passed on hold a special place in my heart and for those who are currently with me, I love to spend time with them. They shape the rhythm of my day, and regularly make me smile with their funny ways. I love how my dogs are always so pleased to see me, they way my cats sleep, the smell of my horse, the gentle grunts of our pigs when I arrive with their food bucket.
Over time the focus of my art has changed towards Pet Portraits. I really enjoy getting to know the animal that I am drawing and what the owner loves about their furry friend. I love to help people, and I find that a beautiful portrait of a most beloved pet is a wonderful way to help someone honour and remember them. I feel very fortunate that I can use my talents to help others, and it brings me great joy to do so.