Featured Artist Ellen Paquette

Artist Ellen Paquette paints richly detailed whimsical animal portraits in a Renaissance style. View more of her portfolio by visiting her website.


ermine portrait by Ellen Paquette

“Ermine with a Lady” acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″


I love looking into the eyes of animals. In them I see wild beauty, intelligence, curiosity and the knowledge of things we humans can never fully understand. I also see the innate dignity of a fellow living creature. No surprise then that my favorite books from early childhood all had animal protagonists.


sloth portrait by Ellen Paquette

“Madame Isolda” acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″


Drawing, painting, music, costuming, nature play and other creative activities have been part of my life as long as I can remember. I never considered activities that were so inherent to my identity as subjects that I should approach for degree studies. A collegiate foray into anthropology and archaeology eventually led me to the revelation that I am, more than anything, an artist because I can’t help but create. I earned my BA in Art in 1993.


portrait of a bat by Ellen Paquette

“Batsheba” acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″


The animal portraits that have been the focus of my work for over a decade draw inspiration from those lifelong fascinations with the animal kingdom, the natural world, historic costumery, myth and folklore.


portrait of a chimpanzee by Ellen Paquette

“Tapanuli Girl” acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″


I developed a fascination with renaissance and Pre-Raphaelite art in my late teens, which has continued to flower and grow. The sensibilities and symbolism of Renaissance portraiture (especially the works of Holbein and Van Eyck) and the saturated colors of the Pre-Raphaelites drive the aesthetics of my work.


iquana portrait by Ellen Paquette

“Marina Iguana and Child” acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″


I paint primarily in fluid acrylics on smooth gessoed panels, allowing for the building up of many thin layers of paint as I render details from delicate whiskers to shiny jewels.


animal portrait by Ellen Paquette

“Frangipani” acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″


I prefer to work small, creating highly detailed works that are rarely larger than 10 x 8 inches. Just as Renaissance portraits included items that strived to tell you more about the sitter than their mere physical appearance, I include visual cues that provide the viewer with information about my subject. This could be anything from an animal’s habitat, to its preferred foods, to the flora and fauna of its landscape, to clothing appropriate to the culture of its homeland.


portrait of a lynx by Ellen Paquette

“Dona” acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″


Before any painting begins, I delve into research about my subject. My intention is not simply to anthropomorphize. My goal is to catch your eye in a way that lengthens and deepens your perception of the extraordinary animal before you.


armadillo portrait by Ellen Paquette

“Anjali” acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″


In the last few years, I’ve intentionally focused my portraiture on vulnerable and endangered species. One of the things I’ve learned from exhibiting at art fairs is that wild animals evoke a variety of responses in people that I find troubling — fear, revulsion, apathy, and a surprising lack of knowledge about species that I always assumed were well known.


elephant portrait by Ellen Paquette

“The Matriarch” acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″


This has fueled a passion in me to share information about how seriously threatened millions of species are—in no small way due to human interference—whether it be climate change, habitat destruction, poaching or the illegal wildlife trade.


praying mantis portrait by Ellen Paquette

“Lady Mantis” acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″


With my paintings, I am asking you to look, and look again, and acknowledge that we share this earth with extraordinary, profoundly worthy creatures.


Artist Ellen Paquette invites you to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


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