Ralph, acrylic on canvas, 9″ x 12″, 2016
Darcy, acrylic on canvas, 10″ x 10″, 2017
Homer, acrylic on canvas, 9″ x 12″, 2016
Frankie, acrylic on canvas, 9″ x 12″, 2016
Quincy, acrylic on canvas, 9″ x 12″, 2016
Lucky, acrylic on canvas, 9″ x 12″, 2017
Photos of the actual pets Noelle Harper painted can be found next to her artworks at her Website.
I have always loved art and animals. From a young age, I created drawings of animals in minute detail. My father is a biology professor and while I was growing up, we had a small menagerie at our house that included several dogs, birds, a snake, gerbils, anoles, and fish. I no longer have a zoo at my house (just one dog) but my interest in animals and my desire to represent them artistically have not changed.
After college, I spent time as the art instructor and educator at Zoo Atlanta. I had the unique opportunity to teach art at the zoo, where the students could observe and create artworks inspired by the animals in front of them, and to share with a younger generation my passion for art, animals, and the natural world.
My interest in how animals relate to humans has carried over to my own work creating commissioned pet portraits. I use fine detail and take the time to closely observe my subjects. I often reference photographs but, whenever possible, I also enjoy meeting the dogs I paint, because seeing them in person helps me capture their unique personalities. It brings me so much joy to see pet owners’ reactions to my work and to give them a lasting portrait of their pet.
About the Artist
Noelle Harper, who is passionate about creating her art and sharing that joy with others through teaching, received her studio art and education degree in 2009 from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. She took the opportunity to enrich her education by studying at Charles H. Cecil Studios in Florence, Italy, and participating in a month-long course in New York City, during which she interviewed artists and visited galleries. After college, Noelle Harper interned in the education departments of two art museums: The Ringling Museum of Art, in Sarasota, Florida, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), in North Adams. She also taught for a year in San Jose, Costa Rica. Following her year abroad, Noelle Harper moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to be lead art instructor for Zoo Atlanta’s summer program. In 2016, her work was selected for Zoo Atlanta’s annual “Art Gone Wild” exhibition and auction.
As an educator, Noelle Harper taught art for three years in schools in Atlanta, helping students explore their creative side and get excited about creating art. Currently, she is an educator and artist in Helena, Montana, where, as resident artist at Hawthorne Elementary, she has shared with her students her love of printmaking.
In the fall of 2016, Noelle Harper’s dog portraits were selected for Helena’s “Fall Art Walk”. During the 2017-2018 school year, she plans to teach art at Bloom Montessori while continuing to paint commissioned pet portraits.