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What I Know – An interview with Malanda Schmitz.


Every cover of The New Barker features an original piece of art by a different artist since its first issue published, December 2006. This issue’s cover was created by Malanda Schmitz, a Safety Harbor artist with a studio also in St. Petersburg. The two dogs Malanda painted for us are


the companions of Arthur Benjamin. Tex, the Boxer and Bandit, the Shih Tzu that Arthur


Sneak Peek - Malanda at work on the summer/fall cover of The New Barker.


The application of layers of paint to build depth of color and layers of fur is essential to my method of painting. I most often use acrylic because of it’s versa- tility and quick drying time.


Raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I was fifteen when I started painting and entering competitions. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Louisiana State University, I worked as an illustrator at a newspaper. In 1999, I was hired by The Tampa Tribune as Visual Reporting Director, leading their transition to visual reporting on multiple platforms.


Our first family pet was an Alaskan Malamute named Jo-Jo. We found him clinging to a piece of driftwood after Hurricane Camille in 1969. We couldn’t believe he was alive, and had no success in finding the rest of his family. He was a wonderful companion for many years.


I can’t imagine a home without a fur buddy. Our fam- ily at present includes Bleau, a Standard Poodle, and Kai (Kaiparowitz), our German Short-Haired Pointer who was a gift from a dear friend in Utah. They both have beds in my studio and hang out while I’m painting.


I began painting dog portraits in 2007 after a life-


changing medical event left me recuperating at home. I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting animals, but the love and comfort our pups gave me inspired me to paint them in vivid color. Our dearly departed Black Lab Moqui, was my muse, as is Bleau. After painting their portraits, I found myself wanting to paint every dog I met. Over the next several years as my health improved, I spent most of my time painting and helping others through donating my art.


58 THE NEW BARKER


Benjamin credits with saving his life. The South Florida resident is a philanthropist, film producer, animal advocate, and founder of American Dog Rescue Foundation. Arthur underwrites all administrative costs to run the all-volunteer foundation so that 100 percent of all proceeds go to animal welfare and projects to save and protect animals. AmericanDogRescue.org.


Sweet Cisero - “Laura’s little Cisero, was my first commissioned pet portrait, 2008.” www.TheNewBarker.com


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