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"I love painting in pastels!" 

Besides raising three children and working, I’ve always enjoyed sketching, so there’s not a lot to say about my work with pastels, except that I love it!

[See Media Coverage below]

In 2019, I took a sketch a little further by “playing around” with pastels. I did a small seascape, just trying to paint a wave. But when I painted my first critter, a giant heron, I knew that I LOVED painting animals! Self-taught, I painted a few portraits for friends, watched a couple YouTubes, and the rest is history! 

I posted some of my pastel work on a neighborhood social media platform and, voila! I got requests to paint peoples’ pets! I think I enjoy that the most. Like people, animals have diverse personalities, so I try to capture each fur baby’s particular charm, from goofy to regal. People are so happy with their pet paintings, which may be only a memory, but it warms my heart to give them this joy.

In 2021, I joined our local art association and had fun entering their Fall Art Show. I was so surprised when I took first and second place in the Animal Portrait Division! I’m not really going to do much with competition; that’s not my interest or goal. But it was fun and I met many very good artists from this area.

I’m enjoying my retirement this way. I would like to branch out with a landscape or two, but my main focus will still be to bring joy to those who want something special to remember their favorite pet by!

Media Coverage

Special to the Mt. Democrat, Sept 23, 2022

Paws and Pastels
Local Artist Drawn to Pet Portraits
Story and Photos by Thomas Frey

The whiskers are crisp and the eyes of the animal look so real they stare right back at you as Maggie Casner zeroes in on her artwork.

Casner started Maggie's Vibrant Pastels in 2019 and creates pet portraits.

She has sketched her whole life, but until her family was grown and she retired, art was a hobby. She started with a mountain range and then drew a blue heron for a friend, who enjoyed the painting and encouraged Casner to keep moving forward.

Just a few years later Casner is booked solid and loves what she does.

She can turn any photo into a work of art as she captures even the most minute details.

"I sit down and I do what I see," Casner said. "I see things that a lot of people don't see unless they've been taught."

She mostly draws dogs, cats and horses.

Each morning she wakes up around 5 or 6 and eats breakfast, feeds her dogs, and goes outside. Around 9 a.m. she heads into the studio, zones in, and gets to work.

Her paper is taped to an easel and just to the left sits an iPad displaying the actual photo of the animal. It's easy for her to zoom in and out so she can maximize the details. She starts with dark colors and as each minute passes, the painting develops into magnificence.

"Once you get the eyes right and you get the light in them and the color, it starts coming to life," Casner said. "There's so much in the eyes."

For an average-size painting, Casner said it takes 5-8 hours; the bigger portraits can take 10 hours or more.

She works for about three hours before eating some lunch. It gives her time to step away from the art and when she returns to the studio, she can make adjustments before moving on to another part of the piece.

"I see things that aren't quite right," Casner said. "I'll look at the picture and look back at the (animal) and know how to fix things."

Her art is very popular for the holidays and when one person was given a painting of their pet for Christmas, it looked so real she asked if it was a photo.

Sometimes Casner will enter her painting into contests, where she has earned first-place ribbons. As she gets ready to work on something for a contest, she will sometimes reach out to the community and ask for photos. She picks one that she likes, brings it to life through pastels, enters it into the contest, then gifts it to the animal owner for free after the show.

"It's a win-win situation."

Casner offers five sizes of paintings and the prices start at $155 for an 8x10 inch and range up to $460 for a 24x36 inch.

Animals have always been a big part of Casner's life. On her 10th birthday she got her first dog and as an adult she did a lot of trail riding and horse camping.

Although she didn't begin her business until 2019, decades of sketching have helped her skills progress.

"It just takes time," Casner said. "[My favorite part] is seeing them come to life."

For more information about Maggie's Vibrant Pastels, visit maggiesvibrantpastels.com.

[End of Article]

Your beloved pet, handpainted in colorful pastels from your favorite photograph, suitable for framing.

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