Meet the artist

This weekend begins the first in my series of “meet the artist” events taking place in and around Chicago. This first one will take place at the Chicago Botanic Garden on Saturday 10/18 from 11 – 1 in the Krasberg Rose Garden. It’s my opportunity to meet and greet folks and talk with them about my art. This is both exhilarating and terrifying for me.998921_666922013349604_433339068_n

Exhilarating because, of course, in an age of mass-produced everything, it is so good to know that there is still a definite interest and appreciation for things that are custom crafted by the hands of an artisan.

Terrifying because I am really not a people person. I struggle to engage people in conversation. It does not come naturally to me and so, I try to keep in mind the reasons that I have chosen pet portraiture as a career. I value the relationship between people and their pets. It has been proven again and again that our pets have a long term beneficial effect on us. Here is just one example:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/200906/the-health-and-psychological-benefits-bonding-pet-dog

I also know that our fur babies are more than just expensive, messy “accessories”. They have a genuine effect on (excerpt from: ZING blog 9/9 written by Chloe Paglia) :

“Loneliness

  • Studies have shown a pet owner’s relationship with their animal is just as strong as with the key people in their lives and doesn’t decrease the importance of human relationships, but strengthens them.
  • An experiment with dog owners showed their social needs were better fulfilled with their dogs, increasing their feelings of belonging and their self-esteem.
  • Pets are also seen to help eliminate feelings or depression or rejection because they’re full-time companions and offer unconditional love.

Physical

  • Elderly people with pets are more physically fit than those who don’t own pets.
  • Medicare patients with pets tend to have less doctors’ visits than those without pets.
  • There are fewer strokes and heart attacks among cat owners.

Stress

  • Having a pet offers you a routine, which is therapeutically helpful when you feel stressed out or like things are out of your control.
  • Positive physical contact with pets is proven to cause people to relax.
  • Playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress-related hormone cortisol.

Children

  • Children who grow up with pets have less allergies and stronger immune systems. 
  • Kids with pets learn about responsibility and roles.
  • Having pets teaches young people how their actions affect others, a principal which is then applied to humans as well.”

And so, I hope to see you this weekend or in the weeks to come at one of my events. You’ll have the opportunity to order holiday gifts at a reduced price, but more importantly, I’d love to hear your stories about how your pet matters in your life. -m