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a Work of Art

Original works of art

Constance Payne
(American, Contemporary )

Constance Payne is the quintessential animalier, creating timeless works of art that capture the essence of a living animal; from their essential physical form to their individual character and true nature. While primarily a painter, Payne is also a consummate draftsman, working from life in pencil, charcoal and pastel to create drawings which are a testament to the subtlety of line. Her intense study of the anatomy of animals has also led her to work in three dimensions, creating bronzes of dogs and horses that incorporate both form and movement.

Payne has always painted dogs and animals, and she has been accompanied by a dog her entire life. She has been active in conformation dog shows and field trials since her youth, in addition to obedience and Schutzhund training. She currently owns a Jack Russell Terrier, a French Bulldog, and her beloved Staffordshire Terrier mix that was rescued from the streets of Buffalo, NY. She is also an active hunter of upland game birds, and she is an accomplished equestrian. This involvement with animals runs parallel to her commitment to her artistic vision. Not content to rest on her degrees from the University of Wisconsin (BFA, MA and MFA), she has over the years sought out opportunities to study further, especially the anatomy of animals. She has worked with articulated skeletons, and more recently been invited to witness actual operations on animals at the prestigious Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine.

While many animal artists of today look to 19th century England and the work of Sir Edwin Landseer, Payne is more drawn to Rosa Bonheur and the French tradition. She has copied her work, studied her technique and even researched the chemical composition of 19th century French oil paints in order to better understand her creative process.

Payne, who has been exclusively paintings dogs and horses since 1981 has been widely recognized for her talent, with 8 sold-out solo exhibitions and over 24 group exhibitions. Her paintings are in several public collections, including the Castellani Art Museum and the American Kennel Club, in New York City. Her list of private collectors, which include the current chairman of the board of the Baltimore Art Museum, is extensive, and she continues to be commissioned to paint show dogs, dogs in the field and beloved pets in both the United States and Canada.

Constance Payne is devoted to carrying on a 19th century aesthetic philosophy: that art evolves from the most exacting visual portrayal of the subject and not from the self expression of the artist. Her signature style in her animal portraiture work is realized by an anatomical precision, with particular attention to tonal structure and lighting which heightens the individual character of the subject. Constance Payne is currently the head of a painting department at a university in New York. Her work is exclusively represented by William Secord Gallery, New York City.


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