Susan Hertel was born in Evanston, Illinois on July 19, 1930, where she developed a lifelong love for animals and channeled that adoration into her studies at the Chicago Art Institute. She further developed her artistic abilities studying under Millard Sheets at Scripps College, which would develop into a greater artistic relationship. Cats on the Sink was conceived towards the end of Hertel’s stay in California, where she had settled with her family and beloved pets. When planning out a composition Hertel would create pencil drawings and would then move on to gouache studies. Hertel’s careful planning resulted in a well balanced composition that makes the quotidian appear picturesque. She gives the appearance of effortlessness, evident in the transparency in her stroke, that compliments her style and subject matter. Indeed, Hertel found the most inspiration in her personal surroundings saying, “My ideal in painting is that moment when what’s everyday is seen as magical”. The largeness of the canvas absorbs the viewer and the distorted perspective adds further visual interest to her quaint world. In this image Hertel brings the viewer into her intimate space and reveals the cohesion of outdoor and indoor space. The artist is present in her painting in both her technique and subject matter. Hertel’s brushstroke reveals the whiteness of the canvas, creating a patterned surface, and the animals are an extension of her spiritual self. Susan Lautman Hertel combined her interest in nature and art to create everyday scenes that were beautiful in their simplicity.
 About the Artist: Artist Susan Hertel, Susan Hertel, http://www.susanhertel.com/artist/artistbio.html
 Mary Davis MacNaughton, “I am an Immigrant Among the Animals”: The Art of Susan Hertel (University of Washington Press: 1998), 27.
Jocelyn Lo, Getty Collections/Conservation Summer Intern, 2015