As a pet portrait artist, Linda Hogg has translated to canvas dogs, cats and horses. One request was pretty unusual.
“Someone asked me if I would do a portrait of a 20-foot boa constrictor,” the Anthem resident said with a laugh.
“I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Because you shouldn’t have that.’”
The owner’s response? “Well, it’s only tried to kill me once.”
Hogg gives all of the money she makes to charities that spend 5% or less on administrative fees. The minimum donation for an 8-inch by 10-inch is $300 plus lab fees. She started creating art as a child, and picked it up again after she retired 10 years ago.
“I felt I needed to be more productive and give back,” she said. “When I picked up my art again, I started doing pets and it just took off.”
Her goal is to create one portrait for someone in every country. Ambitious, sure. However, she’s already crossed the United States, Turkey, Germany and a good chunk of Europe off her map.
“People take photos and send them to me online,” Hogg said. “I very seldom meet the pet. I’m really excited about it. I’ve met so many nice people through this. My husband, unbeknownst to me, shared what I’ve been through on Nextdoor and I receive requests for portraits from there.”
Hogg is referring to the beginning of a rough patch in her life. Then living in California, she was healthy, teaching yoga and into sports, golf, hiking and swimming. One night at 3 a.m., she keeled over from an aneurysm.
“I don’t remember anything about it,” she said. “I just remember standing and that’s it. My husband, Peter, called the ambulance. They weren’t going to take me in because I was conversing with him.”
Hogg ended up going to the hospital and the staff escorted her via helicopter to UC Irvine when they couldn’t stop the bleeding. Doctors coiled the aneurysm, which was caused by arteriovenous malformation (AVM). With AVM, the arteries and veins in an arteriovenous malformation can rupture, causing bleeding into the brain or spinal cord. During surgery, the doctors removed tiny veins from her brain without touching it.
They told Peter that Linda would die if the veins weren’t removed, but the surgery could have killed her as well.
“I thought I was dead when I woke up,” she recalled. “I was under this light and 12 to 20 young boys with white robes were there and there was a ring from the light. It was a teaching hospital, and the doctor takes children 12 and up to teach them about medicine. They were so cute.”
Calling Peter her “rock,” Hogg said she was doing great six months after surgery. She walked her dog without her wheelchair, walker or cane. However, while she was out, someone threw a tennis ball and she fell and crushed her left ankle, leaving her in a wheelchair.
“To this day, I’m still not able to play golf because of my ankle,” she said. “My portraits give me a great pleasure. I pour my heart into them. I like the fact that people really love them.”
The Hoggs moved to Anthem in January 2020, just before the lockdown, from Rancho Mirage, California. Because of her health history, she has to be mindful of COVID-19.
Hogg has a service dog who barks when she’s “in trouble.” The pup takes care of Hogg, and has also made appearances with her at hospitals, nursing homes and schools before the pandemic.
“We miss our work together,” she said. “We talked to kids from preschool to third grade and taught dog safety classes. It’s a 30-minute class and they love it. I get letters from kids and teachers saying they didn’t know all that stuff. They love her tricks, and they giggle and adore her.”