My name is Kate Sumners and I am the artist behind Endless Sumners Art. My mainstays are charcoal and pastel portraits of people and pets; I also love photography and watercolor painting. My style is definitely realism and I love to put LOTS of detail in my work. I’m 28 years old and live in Arizona with my husband Brandon and our two Italian Greyhound ‘kids’ Toby and Scout.
Etsy Shop: Endless Sumners Art
1. How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
I’ve always loved all animals. Growing up I couldn’t have my own cat because my mother is severely allergic and has asthma and difficulty breathing as well. That did not, however, deter me from ‘adopting’ a stray cat when I was about 8. The lovely tortoise shell kitty may not have been allowed in the house, but she found her way into my heart. Looking back, I don’t think this was a homeless stray at all, but probably a neighbor’s pet. But I still consider her ‘my’ first cat. Patiently (well, patiently for an 8 year old) I built up trust over time until she would let me touch her and eventually even come when I called. Today my two ‘kids’ are Italian Greyhounds which we jokingly say are the closest dog breed to cats. They are elegant, clean, comfort loving little dogs who can most often be found lounging on the back cushions of our couch in the window sill.
2. How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
My aunt recommended Etsy because it was all the rage with her and her friends and she knew I was working as an artist. From the first time I was on the site, I was hooked! I love the beautiful look and artsy feel. I also meet a lot of my clients in person, but love running my business online because I will be able to reach so many more people. And working in my pajama pants is also a bonus!
3. Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
My art is featured in Thunderbird Art Gallery, our local Powell Museum, and several businesses and restaurants around my hometown of Page, Arizona.
4. Have you been successful at selling your products on Etsy? Have you always been successful, or did you end up getting a lot more traffic after being featured on a specific blog?
As of today I have sold 18 portraits on Etsy. I have a long way to go, but feel my business growing as I learn the ins and outs of online selling. Blogging, posting on Youtube, and Facebook are all doing a lot to drive up my traffic on Etsy, I’m learning as I go! I’m finding out that social networking is very important for online sellers.
5. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
It was my customers that originally gave me the idea that this even should be a business. Several friends and acquaintances requested that I draw them portraits of their pets and children when they found out I could draw. If I hadn’t had the requests for commissions I know I never would have made the leap from hobbyist to professional artist.
6. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
Of course! I am enamored with the cuddly, beautiful breed ever since my sister Melissa adopted one and told me about how wonderful they are.
7. Are you a one wo/man show?
I am my only employee.
8. Do you have a blog?
I do. At http://EndlessSumnersArt.Blogspot.com I share my thoughts and tips on drawing, painting, and animal rescue. In addition to drawing commissioned portraits I am a professional photographer and I recently wrote an article on how to get great photographs of your furbabies. You can get professional looking results by following a few simple guidelines when photographing your pets.
9. Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
Yes in fact the majority of my work is commissioned pieces. And I can do one better than returns: I usually don’t charge anything up front. I work up the portrait, email a watermarked picture of it to the client, and if they are happy with it then they purchase it.
10. Can you share a story with us behind any of your products that you especially enjoyed working on? Maybe because of the story behind the kitty?
I enjoyed painting this pastel portrait of Bella the cat. I love it because unlike many of my commission subjects, I actually know Bella well and have been around her since she was a kitten when her ‘mom’ TJ rescued her. Our hometown is surrounded by a huge area where poverty is severe and providing animals with veterinary care or even food is rare. TJ couldn’t resist Bella’s tiny kitten charms when she found her and brought her home. Bella has an incredible playful, fearless and social personality to match her stunning good looks and blue eyes. To me, she is just about the perfect cat and I really enjoyed giving the original as a gift to her owners, who are close friends and were celebrating a wedding anniversary.