Life-Sized Animal Paintings Look Just Like Emotional Black and White Photos

Animal Portrait Paintings by Sarah Still

Devoid of color, black and white images can have a nostalgic, and sometimes serious effect, on their subjects. With this in mind, artist Sarah Still uses a limited grayscale color palette to bring out the majesty of animals in her ongoing series of oil paintings. These massive works of art feature up-close views of different species that are as striking as they are beautiful.

F0rmerly a makeup artist for film and television, Still pivoted to painting animal portraiture full-time—a pursuit she had been developing on the side—in 2016. Her proximity to the pristine wilderness of British Columbia is a source of constant inspiration. In fact, many of her subjects can be found in the nature of Canada's West Coast.

From howling wolves to open-eyed owls, she captures a range of different animals in her paintings. Most of these subjects are placed close to the viewer with a hint of a background peaking behind them. This allows the audience to focus on the realistic details that Still places in her renderings, like the texture of fur, whiskers, and feathers. It all helps to bring them to life. “Animals have no ego, every picture is candid, and I am delighted to capture each creature’s emotion and personality on canvas,” she tells My Modern Met.

The artist has no intention of painting anything else—for now. “My work may evolve to include other subjects one day, but for now, I'm finding joy in the beauty of wildlife and reminding my audience that our world is shared,” Still says.

You can purchase prints of Still's paintings via her online store, and keep up to date with her latest work by following the artist on Instagram.

Canada-based artist Sarah Still creates exquisite black and white portraits of animals.

Animal Portrait Paintings by Sarah StillAnimal Portrait Paintings by Sarah Still

She finds inspiration in the diverse wildlife of British Columbia.

Animal Portrait Paintings by Sarah StillAnimal Portrait Paintings by Sarah StillAnimal Portrait Paintings by Sarah StillAnimal Portrait Paintings by Sarah Still

Her portraits look like realistic grayscale photographs of different animal species.

Animal Portrait Paintings by Sarah StillAnimal Portrait Paintings by Sarah StillSarah Still: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Sarah Still.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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