Texas City artist captures gun dogs, wildlife in portraits
For centuries, hunters have spent a lot of time and money on their dogs. And for centuries, these prized animals have been immortalized in art. They still are today by artists such as Texas City resident Roland Castanie.
Castanie, an avid hunter, began his career in the medical arts. He was an illustrator and supervisor of medical art at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Later, he taught art and graphics for 21 years at Texas City High School. He also was an adjunct professor of graphics at College of the Mainland.
Along the way, his love of the outdoors and wildlife worked its way into his art. Pieces he created for Ducks Unlimited raised tens of thousands of dollars for conservation, as well as for other sporting organizations, including the Coastal Conservation Agency and the Texas Game Warden Association. He has created many of the posters for fishing tournaments across the county.
After retiring in 2008, he began accepting commissions for wildlife and ranching scenes. In exchange, he has been able to hunt in many parts of the state.
Castanie has been drawing retrieving dog art for the past 15 years, and meets many of his clients at retrieving-club field trials. He often donates his work to auctions for the clubs.
Even though the dogs he portrays are highly trained in obedience, they aren’t always the best at sitting for portraits, Castanie said.
He often takes several photos of his subjects and uses those to create his art. Sometimes, though, the dogs will sit for their portraits.
As a sportsman, his subjects are well known to him.
“I usually don’t do too many subjects I’m not familiar with,” he said.
People who are interested in his work know the subject, too, and will point out any inaccuracies, he said. His background in the medical field has helped him with anatomy.
“I’m fortunate to do something that I love to do,” he said.
Castanie draws portraits of humans, too. He often is commissioned to draw the cowboys who work on ranches where he hunts.
He also is involved with the Vietnam Veterans of America, and he sometimes receives requests from former soldiers who want him to paint the tank they served on in Vietnam.
His print “On Behalf of a Grateful Nation” has been presented to thousands of Gold Star families across the country.