Kathleen Harte Gilsenan has been a resident in Millburn for over 25 years, an art teacher at the high school for eight years and an artist for even longer.
Having grown up in a creative and artistic family, Gilsenan drew her first inspiration for art from her parents, especially her father who was an artist.
“My father was a talented artist and my mother always allowed me to experiment with ideas and materials,” Gilsenan said of how she was first interested in art. “I was lucky to grow up in a family that encouraged creative activities.”
Gilsenan’s current artwork focuses on creating pictures of Labradors doing activities that were inspired by various professions, hobbies and favorite pastimes of their owners. She uses her own Labrador for inspiration, according to Gilsenan, and currently has artwork on display at Millburn Public Library.
“When my children were young I created illustrations that featured children but, after they were grown, I began to use our yellow Labrador Retriever Maddie as the focus of my artwork,” Gilsenan said. “The illustrations I create now feature Labrador Retrievers enjoying the passions and pastimes of the humans they love,” Gilsenan said.
Gilsenan added that her and her husband recently added a second Labrador to the family named Milo and he will pose soon for her art as well.
Gilsenan has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University and a Master of Fine Arts in Illustration from the University of Hartford. Over the years, Gilsenan has artwork that has been licensed to various companies for use on greeting cards and other products.
Gilsenan stated the most joyful part of being an artist is how it always seems to keep a smile on her face, as well as others.
“I especially love being able to create artwork that makes me smile and also resonates with others,” Gilsenan said. “It’s such fun to hear from people who have purchased prints of my Maddie Lab Studio artwork and to learn how the artwork brings smiles to their faces and reminds them of their own Labs.”
Gilsenan’s artwork will be on display at the Millburn Public Library located at 200 Glen Ave. throughout the month of January. Her display is available to view Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.