See all posts
23 September 2012 ·

Artists and Animals: Leonie Kervin and Remus, life drawing model

I first met Leonie Kervin when she was still a teenager and I was a young mother. Thanks to Facebook, we’ve reconnected and it’s been a real thrill to see the amazing person, and artist, she’s become. It’s lovely to be able to interview her today:
As an artist, I dabble in many fields, but my main passions are painting, drawing and textiles. You can view some of my work here., or read about my adventures here
As a life drawing teacher and facilitator, the human form is a focal point of my work.
It is important to me to be able to draw from life. Whether it is just drawing for the sake of it, or working towards a larger project, inspiration usually comes from something that is part of my environment. Colour, texture, form, tone etc. are all tools to express what cannot be said.
Have you ever been inspired by an animal, or animals in general, in your life or art?
Animals are a huge source of inspiration. From as far back as I can remember, I have always loved and felt close to them. Particularly dogs, probably because they are brilliant at communicating without words.

Figure 1  A life drawing of my dog, Remus.

Figure 2  A commissioned portrait that I did last year.

Figure 3  Moira, the wine dog. My brother’s Irish Wolfhound.

Did you have pets as a child? Or: what was the pet you most wanted as a child?
As a child I was surrounded by animals, and loved them all. We grew up on a farm.
My first pet was a fox terrier called Seiko. So named because as a puppy we couldn’t get him a collar small enough, so he wore a watch band. (Mum was brilliant and thinking up interesting and unusual pet names).
He was a very loveable rat-bag. Being a very shy kid, it was wonderful to have such a loyal and affectionate little buddy by my side at all times. He was the best therapy any kid could ask for.
Do you have an animal companion now? How did it get its name? Does your pet have a story to share?
Until last year we had a beautiful old feller called Remus. We rescued him from the Lost Dog’s Home in 2002, when he was about three years old. We think he was a border collie x kelpie x healer combination. He was smart, funny, affectionate, fiercely loyal and great company. 
He used to love coming to life drawing. He would often sit with the model, probably because he could see that they were the centre of attention and he wanted some of it. Here he is sitting with my daughter, Lucy while the model was on a break. As you can see, he was great drawing material himself.
We miss him so much, but we have many happy memories and loads of lovely drawings of him.

What would your pet tell us about you?
That I am a complete sucker and should stay away from animal shelters J
Also that I am more interested in the outsider, the unusual. I enjoy quirky.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
Probably a cat. I admire their independent nature and love curling up for a nap by the heater.
Any advice for people wanting a pet?
Choose one to suit your lifestyle. Do the research first. Don’t get a dog if you are not home much or don’t have much space, or the time and patience to train them.
Be sure you are committed to looking after them for the term of their natural life. 
Favourite animal books?
As a kid, I used to love reading Jack London books. I loved how he wrote from the animal’s point of view, and how they related to the world around them. I also loved how his lead animal was always torn between being wild and domestic life. He made me think about how animals perceive humans.
And I love reading James Herriot. His books are a wonderful snapshot of rural England mid 20th Century. I love his humour, warmth and interesting stories about animals and their humans. The medical stuff is quite interesting too. 
Puppy at Gate Screen Print Design

Sleeping Puppy Screen Print Design

Add a comment

← Back to all posts

Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio