SENIOR WRITER SUZANNE FREEMAN
When Chloe Hinton puts charcoal to paper, the shading, shape, and highlights of her chosen medium quickly begin to form a recognizable image.
As a professional pet portrait artist, Hinton captures more than the image of a beloved canine or cat. Her work brings each animal’s personality and spirit to life on the page.
Called one of the best charcoal artists in the nation by her mentor and teacher, artist Daniel Adams of Buchanan Dam, Chloe Hinton is only 15 years old.
“She’s doing professional work,” Adams said. “She’s already doing better work than people who have been doing it for years.”
Hinton is the second-youngest graduate from the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District. She received her diploma last May from the district’s alternative school, Quest High School, because she wanted to put her education on a fast track to concentrate on her art. Currently, she works as a full-time apprentice in Adams’s studio.
“I’ve been drawing animals since I was seven years old,” she said, adding that she started by drawing any animal that interested her. “I’ve always loved drawing animals as my subject.”
She made up the images at first but soon began working from photos of pets. Now, as a commissioned artist, she mostly draws dogs. The key to her success in the few months she has been taking commissions is her ability to capture an animal’s personality on paper.
“I get to know the animal,” she explained. “I spend some time with each one if I can and take pictures. I like getting pictures of their expressions. It gets to their personality.”
Capturing that in a black-and-white charcoal drawing comes mostly from accentuating the eyes. She calls it “getting tight into the drawing.” Her teacher calls it amazing. Hinton’s work goes beyond showcasing a certain level of skill, he said. She has the desire, the interest, the spirit of a true artist.
“She’s not just a technician,” Adams said. “She puts her heart into it. That’s the difference. Art should be better than a photograph. If it isn’t, just keep the photograph.”
Adams has seen clients cry when presented with a finished Hinton drawing, especially those whose pets have passed on.
“Art is a type of communication that transcends words,” Adams said. “You see that it’s your dog. She does that for you. She captures the spirit of the dog. It brings people joy and happiness. That’s a lot more than a skill.”
To see Chloe’s work, drop by Adams’s studio at 7617 Texas 29 in Buchanan Dam. Call (956) 432-2262 for information on commissioning your own pet portrait.