Did you know rabbits can learn their names? Yup, their ears will perk up if you call them regularly. During an interview with local artist Beverly (Bev) Endsley, I’m told a story about the twin white rabbit brothers that taught her the essence behind her artwork: that every animal is totally individual, each with their very own “glint in their eye.”
Bev’s love for rabbits began at an early age when her family discovered she had a bone disease which impaired her walking. As a child on crutches in rural Texas, there was little to do but love on the sweet bunny her parents gave her. She cuddled and tended to the furry companion and told it everything she’d tell a friend—and then some. The relationship with her childhood rabbit was not only therapeutic, it also began her love for animals.
Sometimes it takes a major moment in life to catapult us into our next chapter. After years of working in print, then owning/operating a model home design company, Bev had enough of the demanding schedule and backbreaking work. She left it all and picked up her paint brush again.
Enter the white twin brother rabbits.
At the time, Bev was fostering the rabbits and couldn’t tell them apart, so she put a small mark in the ear of one of the brothers. She decided to make them a subject of her painting, which was very different than the still life and landscapes she’d been creating. After studying the fuzzy, pink-eyed brothers so intensely and actually “seeing” them, she completed her painting and she “never had to put a mark in one of their ears again, because they were so very different.”
After discovering this reality, Bev began the study of animal communications to further hone her skills with connecting to her animal subjects before she paints them. For commissioned pieces, she’ll often light a candle and ask the animal to help guide her in this project as their “people want to honor them.” Her paintings come from photos she has taken, or ones that commissioned clients give her.
Endsley’s impressionistic artwork softly captures the spirit of animals, both domestic and wild. I spent much time admiring the baby goat painting she has in her studio—a quaint, brightly lit space neatly organized with projects in different stages. The playfulness of that billy-goat practically leapt off the canvas. I asked how she was able to bring such softness and warmth to the canvas, yet capture the essence of her subject without a fine point detail?
It was then that I learned of her unique physical style of painting: using a straight arm—the canvas always being an arm’s length away. In doing so, she’s able to have something like a bird’s eye view of the canvas without getting into the minutiae of detail. Also, Bev tells me, “The basis of impressionism is allowing your audience to finish your painting.” In other words, details are interpreted while being viewed, providing an individual experience for each person.
As a travel enthusiast, Bev has found much inspiration in her exploration of the world. However, she never paints or sketches while traveling; instead, she lives and experiences life in the moment. Her subjects have ranged from quirky penguins of Antarctica to the desert camels of Jordan to a Bedouin nomad of Petra. While traveling certainly influences her artwork, it is not what brings her the most satisfaction. Her main artistic goal is to connect with her subjects so deeply there is no question the Golden Retriever (or penguin or duckling, etc.) she crafts is distinguishable from all others.
A passion for animals is evident in each of Endsley’s paintings; she captures the heart and soul of every creature that graces her canvas. It’s no wonder she is a sought-after pet portraitist whose artwork can be found not only in art galleries, but also in veterinary clinics throughout the United States.
To learn more about Endsley’s artwork, or to commission a piece for this holiday season, visit her website at beverlyendsley.com
Bev’s Artwork can also be seen locally at:
Evergreen Gallery, Evergreen
Colorado Furniture, Conifer
Mary Williams Fine Art, Boulder
Member of OPA, AIS, WOAW, AWA