GETTYSBURG – “Our Love for Animals” artist exhibit at the HACC-Gettysburg Campus features the endearing artwork of Hanover artist Charlotte Yealey, who masterfully captures the personality of dogs, cats, horses and other animals in her pet portraits.
On display through the end of June, the exhibit includes 33 paintings accompanied by quotes by famous people about the lasting and important effect that animals have on people.
“Animals bring so much pleasure and they should be celebrated,” said Yealey.
She attributes her love of animals to her growing-up years on a farm in Brodbecks, York County. “I was literally born on the farm; my mother didn’t have time to get to the hospital. I tell everyone that’s why animals are so close to me,” she said.
Yealey currently shows her art at the Hanover Area Arts Guild Gallery, York Art Association, Art & Soul Gallery and Brath & Hughes Gallery. She is also a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America, Pennsylvania Watercolor Society and Daily Painters of PA.
As a child, Yealey found a way to weave animal portraits into every school project she was assigned and when she graduated from high school, she was determined to pursue art as a career. She attended York Academy of Arts but left to get married and raise two daughters. Her love of painting never left her, however.
“I used to put my girls to bed at night and paint,” she said. Her father, who was a woodworker, provided her many wooden items on which to paint her designs. She accompanied him to arts and crafts shows to sell her wares.
In 1988, Yealey began a pet grooming business called “Charlotte’s Web” and began offering her customers the chance to have their pet’s portrait painted. The idea became so popular that it turned into a dual business, with the painting as popular as the grooming, she said. She eventually turned the grooming end over to her daughter and began painting full time.
“I was really surprised at how many people wanted portraits of their pets after they passed away, as a memorial,” she said. “I usually like to meet the pets I am going to paint, but when I can’t, I work from photographs. I enjoy capturing the expression the animal has. Many people have told me that I really captured their pet’s personality. That’s what I set out to do.”
Yealey, who has trained her four rescue dogs as therapy dogs and visits area nursing homes and schools with them, has a heart for abandoned animals. During the art exhibit period at the HACC-Gettysburg Campus, Yealey is donating 10 percent of her art sales to the Adams County SPCA.
The art exhibit is free and open to the public during campus hours, which are 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. For more information, contact the Gettysburg Campus at 717-337-3855.