“Anita’s Animals,” by Anita Hittle is the latest Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council exhibit and offers a new look at man’s best friend. The exhibit opened Monday at the Stephenville Senior Citizens Center.

A reception featuring Hittle is scheduled on site Thursday, Aug. 30, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. A portion of the proceeds from any gallery sales will to Erath County Humane Society.   

“Anita’s Animals” is a whimsical exhibit featuring many of man’s closest friends portrayed in watercolor.  Hittle began working with watercolor at the Redlands Art Association in California under the pen name Anita Keegan. She later moved to New Mexico and continued her studies, branching out with oils as well. 

After spending a few years traveling and discovering en plein air painting, Hittle returned with many pieces that were exhibited in New Mexico. But it was in 2010 that Hittle first began painting pet portraits.

“In this chaotic world, (painting) is a chance to slow down and pay attention to the ordinary mysteries of living,” Hittle said. “This is probably why I tend to paint animals. They make sense to me.”

Hittle still has pieces on display at the Ruidoso Library and the Pinon Pottery Gallery but settled in Stephenville a few years ago to be closer to family.

“What I didn’t know as a beginning artist was how it would change the way I see and how it would change my life,” Hittle said. “Art has been an extraordinary journey that continues to surprise me at every turn. It has given me a sense of balance and the courage to push my boundaries.”

CTFAC Executive Director Whitney Lee said in spite of the challenges working with watercolor often presents, Hittle’s work reflects the uniqueness of personality all pet owners can easily recognize. 

“Watercolor can sometimes be a difficult medium for an artist,” Lee said. “When you’re looking through these portraits you can see the smile in the puppy’s eyes or the affection an owner has for his rooster. It’s really a fun exhibit by a very talented artist.”

Lee said she is excited to extend a portion of the gallery sales to ECHS. 

“When I first met Anita, she talked about New Mexico and some of her art that’s still on display at the Ruidoso Library and the Pinon Pottery Gallery. And then she mentions that she also worked with an animal shelter in California,” Lee said. “I asked if she’d be interested in doing an exhibit for CTFAC and if we could donate a portion of the sales to a local animal group. She was excited at the idea and it all just came together.”

The exhibit will be on display at the senior center through Sept. 30. 

Hittle is also offering a beginner’s watercolor class through CTFAC this fall. Contact the CTFAC at 254-965-6190 for more information.