By Marianne Walthier, Volunteer Writer
You are likely familiar with the Dumb Friends League’s wonderful photos of adoptable pets and horses featured on their website, but did you know that there is a local artist who paints portraits of many of the same animals? These beautiful paintings often accompany adopted animals to their new homes as a special memento. You may have even seen them while walking around the Leslie A. Malone Center. Stefne Walton has been producing colorful, acrylic 5” x 7” panels for the past year or so. To date, she has painted more than 200 animal portraits for the League!
Years ago, Stefne relocated to Denver from Albuquerque, where she also volunteered at an animal shelter. At the League, she initially volunteered with Kitty Comfort, but soon realized this program and others were not an ideal fit because of the lifting and computer requirements involved. It was then that she came up with the idea of painting portraits to spotlight some of the animals who had been in the shelter the longest. She hoped to make a difference in their lives and help them find loving homes.
Staff at the League email photos of adoptable animals to Stefne, and she then paints their portraits. Over the course of painting numerous animal portraits, Stefne has grown as an artist. She tries to capture each animal’s unique personality traits in her paintings. Her portraits are vibrant renderings, and some of her subjects even sport bow ties or bandanas. She is particularly skilled at portraying facial expressions; it’s as if each animal is looking directly at a potential adopter, imploring them to take them home. Every animal has a story to tell, and Stefne wants to encourage adoption through her paintings.