Self-taught artist Sam Dolman was inspired by pet Chow Chow
(Photo: 'Maggie' — winner of the 2017 American Art Awards 'Best of Show' category).
Professional artist, Sam Dolman tells us about how he started his career, and how his pet Chow Chow inspired him to starting painting...
“I have always been surrounded by animals for as long as I can remember. Growing up on a smallholding, we had chickens, ducks, and geese, where we would get our eggs from. We had these lovely goats who would provide us with milk. We also, of course had a pet dog by the name of Koala, our beloved chow chow. I would tell the other kids in the village he was a mountain lion haha.
“He had a wonderful character and got on surprisingly well with all the animals, but did have a tendency to escape now and then. It would be my job to go and find him. He was never hard to miss, nor far from home, and he would see me coming and think ‘OK it's time to go back now’. He became my best friend, and as a child was the first animal, and first subject that I was really inspired to paint.
“Roll onward 25 years, and working as a full-time artist painting animals, Koala (the second) became the subject of one of my paintings as a gift for my dad's 80th birthday. This painting brought about several commission requests. Nowadays pet portraits, which include cows and sheep make up most of what I do.
“I spend many weeks on a single painting, worked on over many months. Entirely self-taught, I look to a variety of sources for inspiration and ways to improve. The combination of very fine brushes, and a smooth surface means I can work in a highly detailed and realistic way. I have recently taken first place in the 2017 American Art Awards in the 'Best of Show' category, and was runner up in the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year. I have also had my animal paintings made into prints and cards by some of the UK's leading publishers. The pleasure of painting and the chance to spend a lot of time with animals is certainly a wonderful way of life, and one I thoroughly enjoy.”