Local Artist Creates Cuddly Imagery with Custom Pet Paintings

Held on the shores of the St. Croix River, the Rivertown Fall Art Festival displays work from over 100 artists who specialize in art forms such as painting, pottery and jewelry. Along with the notable art, festivalgoers will also have access to live music, a beer and wine tent and an eye-catching view.

Among the artists featured is local painter, Malia Wiley. Wiley’s knack for capturing images of owners’ beloved pets is evident since many of her paintings feature domestic dogs and cats.  However, this year she will be showcasing work that also includes farm animals and food. Although Wiley works mostly on commission for clients in her studio in Lake Crystal, she makes time to paint what truly makes her happy, which currently happens to be a series depicting crochet afghans and animals together in the same scene, like a deer with a rainbow quilt draped over its antlers.

“When I create for myself, I make work that makes me happy and is beautiful to me,” Wiley says.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in art from Bethany Lutheran College, Wiley has gone on to be accepted into several artist workshops, contribute her work for large scale projects such as a mural at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota and exhibit at various venues around the state, including the Minnesota State Fair. But, she thrives most on creating paintings that have personal connections for her clients.

Wiley often works from pictures people send her, although she still travels with an easel so she can paint on the go if something catches her eye. This way she can show people what and how she is creating since her painting is the best way she knows how to communicate.

“If I can evoke a feeling or response from my viewer that makes them appreciate, ponder or feel happy just from looking at my work that is fuel for me to create more,” Wiley says.

Check out her work and many others’ at the festival this month.

Rivertown Fall Art Festival
Lowell Park, 201 Water St. N., Stillwater
October 6–7, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.