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Interview with Lullaby for Lions Artist Kathryn Freeman

Artifact: We recently added a 363 piece puzzle of neo-surrealist Kathryn Freeman's painting Lullaby for Lions. Kathryn, how did this artwork come to be?       Freeman: “Lullaby for Lions” is part of...

Artifact: We recently added a 363 piece puzzle of neo-surrealist Kathryn Freeman's painting Lullaby for Lions.

Kathryn, how did this artwork come to be?    


Freeman: “Lullaby for Lions” is part of a series that I am working on called “Animal Dreams”. 

When I started doing sketches and research for the actual painting, I was drawn again to Rousseau. Studying his paintings over the past few years I have been attracted to them in a different way than ever before. Other lions that I looked at are the beautiful sculptures outside the New York Public Library, named Patience and Fortitude. And a tiny statue that was given to me as a gift. It sat like a muse on my painting table while I worked...and then there were my own cats who wander in and out of the studio and conveniently curl up at just the right moment.
And many thanks to the young boy next door who modeled for the little boy in the painting. At the time his hair had grown beautifully long and unruly like a lion's mane. When I told him he was to be reading to lions, he took that pose like he had read to lions everyday of his life. Perhaps he has. I know for sure he will never, ever shoot one.

Artifact: Your artwork is wonderfully creative.  What's your advice on creativity?


FreemanBeing creative is a state of mind and a desire. Even if you don’t paint or write or make an outward expression of creativity, one can still be a creative thinker even in the smallest of tasks. 


Artifact: Where do you get inspiration for your paintings? 

Freeman I have always felt that growing up in the country and spending much of my young life playing in the woods fueled my artistic life and is the inspiration for most of my paintings.  I love fairy tales, myths and folk tales and in my mind I am able to see the wonder behind everyday existence, and interpret the allegory and symbolism of ordinary things.


ArtifactYour works includes lots of animals. Do you have any pets of your own?

FreemanYes! I love animals of all kinds. I grew up in the country and lived with horses, dogs, cats, birds and other creatures that often came into our lives. I feel a deep respect for all living creatures and that is why my paintings revolve around them. I have two dogs and two cats of my own and I also volunteer and foster puppies for an animal rescue organization.

ArtifactHow long do your paintings take to paint?  When do you know that the painting is finished?

FreemanThey usually take between 2-3 months. I know they are finished when I don’t know what else to do to it. I let it sit for a day or two before I declare it officially done.

ArtifactDid you know you have wanted to be an artist?

Freeman I had an uncle who was a professor of art and an incredible landscape painter. I always had a desire to make things or express ideas in some way. ge.
October Danville Woods - Robert Jordan, 1981

Artifact: Was art school important to you?

FreemanI worked with several professors in graduate school who had a big influence on me. One was Joseph Groell who taught a class in geometry that impacted the way I think about space and another was Paul Gianfagna who taught classes on materials as well as anatomy. My other big influencers were my uncle Robert Jordan and another artist Milet Andrejevic whose mythology inspired paintings made me feel that using my paintings to tell stories was legitimate.

Apollo and Daphne - Milet Andrejevic, 1984

ArtifactWho are some of your favorite artists and why?

FreemanI love so many artists of all styles and genres it is hard to narrow it down but some of my biggest loves are Piero della Francesca, Fra Angelico, Vermeer, Vuillard, Balthus, Rothko, Rousseau, Edward Hopper and Georges Seurat. There are also some artists who are my contemporaries whose work has always amazed and inspired me such as the painter Kim Abraham. His current space paintings are mind blowing.

FORCE - Kim Abraham


ArtifactAre you working on any new projects?  

FreemanI am currently painting a 40’ mural about dogs in literature for a public library. 

ArtifactHow can people see more of your art and get prints or originals?

FreemanPrints of my paintings are available for purchase on my website.
I also blog about recent work at
I do commissioned work on a regular basis, and show my paintings at Dog & Horse Fine Art in Charleston South Carolina- which is a wonderful gallery to visit.


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