Letters

Letters 02-15-2016

No More Balloon Launches In the recent Wedding issue, a writer noted a trend of celebratory balloon launches at weddings. Balloon releases are nothing more than a wind-born distribution of litter, not an appropriate way to celebrate a marriage or commemorate cancer victims and survivors...

Plenty Of Blame In Flint Many opinions have been voiced about the Flint water crisis; all have left many questions unasked, such as: Lead is the culprit, and a there is a ban on lead in paint, as well as one on lead in new plumbing materials. There are still many service connecting pipes made out of lead in service. Why? Have any been installed despite the ban?

Stop Balloon Releases I was appalled by the column on the wedding traditions article that suggested making new traditions like releasing balloons at the conclusion of the ceremony! I am the president of AFFEW (A Few Friends for the Environment of the World) in Ludington, and we clean beaches four times a year....

Roosevelt Had It Right 202 years ago the British Royal Navy bombarded Fort McHenry during the War Of 1812. While being held captive aboard the HMS Surprise, Francis Scott Key composed the immortal “Star Spangled Banner” poem. 202 years later I ask, “Oh, say can you see” one of the most appallingly dishonest presidential election cycles since the Adams/Jefferson election of 1800...

Avoid Urban Sprawl In Petoskey I urge Resort Township, the City of Petoskey and Emmet County to dissuade Bay Harbor’s proposal to add new business and residential development along U.S. 31 near the main entrance to Bay Harbor...

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Pet Portraits

Shanny Schmidt has a doggone good time portraying pooches

Al Parker - April 1st, 2013  

Shanny Schmidt has found an art niche that offers something special for animal lovers.

She paints pet portraits, mostly dogs, which feature vibrant colors and unusual poses. Her growing collection of works ranges from Airedales to Wolfhounds and most breeds in between.

The Williamsburg resident has portrayed gregarious Greyhounds, pensive Poodles and shy Sheepdogs, all in bright colors that creatively contrast and complement. Schmidt’s unconventional portraits are patchy and fluid at the same time. They whimsically portray each pooch in an artful way.

With Schmidt’s canine creations, a pet owner has an opportunity to have not only a unique charming portrait of a family member, but also an impressive work of art.

“Bold use of color is one way I portray the personality and overall feeling of the dog,” explains Schmidt, 34, who began her creative career in a much different field.

OPERATIC AMBITION

After graduating from Interlochen Arts Academy where she majored in opera performance, Schmidt went on to attend the prestigious Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where she pursued a degree in opera.

“But I soon learned that it wasn’t for me,” says Schmidt. “Opera wasn’t fun anymore.”

A few years later, she pursued another passion: a career as a chef. Schmidt built a successful business for herself as a personal chef in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida which later led to her opening Regalo’s, a restaurant in Elk Rapids which allowed her to be closer to her family.

As a stress reliever and a way to decompress from long days of running a restaurant, Shanny began painting.

“I went to Michael’s and bought some paints and brushes,” she remembers. “Those first paintings were dream-like abstract stuff. It was very therapeutic, that’s for sure.”

After complications caused the restaurant to close, Schmidt kept her brush in hand and kept painting. She felt the process of creating art in this way became critical to her overall peace and was a source of renewal for her. After much cajoling from family and friends, Shanny shyly took a chance and began showing her artwork.

“Painting quickly went from just being a source of stress relief to becoming a budding career,” she says. “And I began acquiring many requests for commissions.”

POODLE DOODLE

So how did she go from abstract impressionist works to pooch portraits?

“I have a friend, Pam Johnson, who is a dog trainer and I asked if I could come to her training session and draw the dogs,” explains Schmidt. “The first painting I did was a poodle, a commission work. I was excited and nervous at the same time. I was excited because I liked the painting, but nervous, hoping that the owner would like it too. She adored it!” Since that poodle portrait, Schmidt has done dozens of canine creations and a handful of kitty compositions. Does she have a favorite breed?

“I like smooth-faced dogs,” she says.

“Flat smooshed in faces, I think, are fun to do. They’re all cute, but I like quirks. A snaggle tooth, or tongue that hangs out, I like that. And people know that it’s their dog.”

Schmidt is a dog owner herself, with two Chihuahuas and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

While still a personal chef, Schmidt is following her passion and paints every day, which is something she considers herself very lucky to be able to do. During this winter she’s been preparing to display at a number of summer art shows across northern Michigan.

“I like doing art shows,” she says. “The dogs are such a commonality. People pass by and comment and smile. Seeing people experience and enjoy my art is really heartwarming.”

Her works are now on display at two locations in Traverse City, the Art & Soul Gallery and Premier Floral and Gifts. The Northern Michigan Animal Hospital in Williamsburg also features her works. For more information, contact Schmidt at dogportraitsbyshanny@yahoo.com or call (231) 735-4448

 
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