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Van Wagoner meticulously transmits the animal’s personality as well as its demeanor. She often begins by painting the eyes, because, she says, “then the portrait comes alive.”
Susan has combined her BA in studio art with her lifelong knowledge of animals to produce paintings and portraits that are both realistic in style and contemporary in design and composition. She does most of her work life-size because she likes the dramatic effects. Her work includes many portraits of top show horses and dogs as well as family pets. Susan works very personally with a small number of clients a year. She travels to meet with clients and works from her own photographs and notes. Her work includes life-size paintings and portraits of dogs, horses, and cats as well as cows, chickens, pigs, and other animals. Susan lived in the Virginia countryside near Middleburg and its equestrian culture for many years. She now resides in Wellington, Florida, which calls itself “the horse capital of the world”. Susan receives much inspiration from her own horses and cats.
Susan's portraits have graced Chronicle of the Horse covers as well as
a WEF Program cover.