Writer Joseph J. Airdo // Photography by Peter Hogg

Linda Hogg’s love for art and animals began when she was just a child, growing up as the daughter of a multi-talented artist on a 5,000-acre horse ranch in Duluth, Georgia.

“We had 250 horses, 500 pigs and 600 chickens,” she says. “We even had pecan trees. And my mother was one of those people who could just sit down and play the piano having never even had a lesson. She painted with watercolors. Instead of coloring books, she would give me blank sheets of paper or a blank canvas to paint on. She used to take me to the zoo and I would sketch the gorillas when I was just 5 years old.”

Later in life, American model agency executive and co-founder of Ford Models Eileen Ford discovered Linda, resulting in a 20-year modeling career that took her all over the world. She never stopped sketching and painting as a hobby, though, and eventually began doing commissioned pieces.

“I studied extensively with renowned artist Frances Poole in California,” says Linda, who prefers to work with acrylics and pastels. “I love pastels because they are kind of a lost art. You can’t make mistakes because you can’t erase them. I think that’s why people do not like them. But I prefer them because they are quite beautiful.”

Linda’s fond memories of her childhood on the ranch never left her as she continued to have a strong affinity for domesticated animals — which became the central focus of her art.

“My husband, Peter, and I love our pets,” the artist explains. “They are certainly part of the family. And I know that my portraits make the perfect gifts for those who feel the same and want to keep their [pets’] memories alive.”

Linda works from not only reference photos — which Peter, a professional photographer, will take when feasible — but also from conversations she has with the owner of each subject so that she can get a feel for their pet’s unique personality.

“I like to learn about the animals and they like to discuss them,” Linda says. “I ask, ‘Does he love to play? Is he really athletic? Does he jump up and down? Or is he more quiet and laid back? Have you had him all your life? How did you get him?’ Those kinds of things.”

Linda recalls one commission she completed for a gentleman in Colorado.

“He had working cattle dogs and he told me about what they do and how fabulous they were at cutting back on his work hours,” she explains. “He said that he just sends them out there and they bring in the cattle or take them out or whatever.”

Because Linda has had commissions from as far away as Turkey, many of these conversations take place via phone or email. Having lived in Europe for five years, she is fluent in German and therefore especially enjoys her conversations with her clients in Germany.

“I have met some very nice people through my work and had some really delightful conversations,” Linda adds.

However, the artist still occasionally gets to travel when her husband’s photography assignments call for it.

The married couple moved to Anthem three years ago at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I did not really know anybody and met a gal out walking her dog,” Linda it says. “She told me about an art group that meets at the country club. I immediately checked that out and became a member.”

Finest Local Artists in Residence is a group of Anthem artists who offer advice, encouragement, critiques, ideas and general friendship to others with similar interests. Once a year, they organize an art show featuring subjects in a variety of mediums — including Linda’s pets in pastels.

Since moving to Arizona, Linda has painted more than a half dozen commissions from residents in Anthem and nearby Desert Mountain. Each portrait takes her about a month to complete. She takes her time to get each and every brushstroke absolutely perfect. After all, the subjects are often treasured members of her clients’ families.

Linda knows this from first-hand experience with her own “mon petit choux.”

“Chou Chou is my medical alert dog,” the artist explains. “She is a cairn terrier-poodle mix and is just a doll. And she is so darn smart. I used to take her to schools and teach dog safety classes.”

Linda has also taken Chou Chou into hospitals to visit with children, whose faces light up with glee when they see her.

“Our pets are our family and our friends,” the artist acknowledges. “Having done a number of wonderful commissions throughout the United States as well as Europe gives me probably as much pleasure as those who receive my work. I love animals and I love what I do.”

However, the part that brings Linda the most joy is the fact that she gets to donate all of the proceeds she receives from her commissions to various charities.

“It is just my way of giving back and makes me feel very good each December when I can write big checks to worthy nonprofits,” she explains. “I choose to donate to charities in which 5% or less [is allotted to] administrative fees.”

Locally, Linda has lent financial support to Youth for Troops. She typically selects charitable causes that benefit pets or veterans.

“Most recently I donated a significant amount of money to Whitney Elementary School in Las Vegas, which helps underprivileged children,” she adds. “This is such a good cause which I discovered on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show.’ Animal shelters are also on my list.”

From her life on her mother’s ranch to her trips to the zoo and her experiences with her beloved Chou Chou, Linda’s love for both animals and art has become a tremendous force for good in this world while simultaneously gifting pet-owners portraits of their own four-legged friends.

Speaking of legs, Linda recalls an exchange she had with the owner of a very peculiar pet that did not have any.

“I once received an email from someone who asked, ‘Can you do a portrait of my pet?’” she says. “I emailed back, ‘What kind of pet do you have?’ He responded, ‘A 20-foot boa constructor.’ I said, ‘No.’ He asked, ‘Why?’ And I responded, ‘Well, first of all, I have no desire to draw a fire hose. Second of all, it is going to kill you someday,’ He emailed me back and said, ‘It only tried once.’”