Like many artists, Meriel Burden’s path in life was mapped out pretty much as soon as she could pick up a pencil. As a child she spent much of her time drawing and painting, and given that art was the only subject at school in which she excelled, it was perhaps inevitable that she would go to art school.
Unlike many artists however, Meriel had a very clear idea of her subject from the start. Her love was for animals and they were all she wanted to depict- much to the frustration of her art school tutors who largely viewed any painting that tried to convey an animal’s character as sentimental. Not that Meriel was particularly bothered. She still made a weekly pilgrimage to the Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter to photograph and draw the inmates. And yes, one of them did go home with her; a little black Labrador cross I named Luka. Well, she was living on the second floor with her – and yes she was a Suzanne Vega fan!
The need to paint and draw animals was in part fed by the fact that as a young child Meriel wanted to have a dog more than anything but wasn’t able due to my parents both being out at work all day. As for ponies (her other big love)? Well there was no way that was ever going to happen!
So art became her way of having animals in her life. Meriel watched them obsessively, always looking for little details she hadn’t noticed before so she could draw them as soon as she was home again. Things like the shape of a horse’s nostrils, or chin with it’s whiskers, or the way the tips of their ears turn ever so slightly inward. And the differing shapes and sizes of dogs was endlessly fascinating!
Meriel works from home in a lovely bright studio which looks out onto the garden.
If you feel Meriel may be the artist to paint your best friend then visit her website and view the pages “How to Commission a Portrait.
Of course, each and every portrait is a unique piece of work and several days or weeks of work goes into each and every one.
They are truly a labour of love.