Like so many talented artists, Molly Dwyer Brahmer got started as a very young child, drawing animals and cartoon characters on construction paper her father brought home from the office. She continued to draw throughout elementary and middle school and when she attended Bainbridge High School she took classes in drawing, jewelry making, ceramics, and painting. She also learned to work with colored pencils, chalk, pastels, and charcoal. During her years at BHS, Molly created a triptych which earned her an award from Bainbridge Arts & Humanities Council and a display at Bainbridge Arts & Crafts.
While attending Loyola Marymount Universityin Los Angeles, Molly continued to take art classes – drawing live models, learning to master pen and ink, as well as jewelry making. Molly went on to earn her bachelors of science degree in Applied Math, with a minor in Studio Art and then embarked upon a career in the airline industry as a flight attendant.
She continued to sketch as a hobby, and in the fall of 2019, she created a portrait of a friend’s dog, who had recently died. “She was super sad so I thought I’d draw a portrait of her dog so she could remember it,” Molly explained. Her friend liked the portrait so much that she shared the image on her Facebook and Instagram pages, and shortly thereafter, people started reaching out to her to have their own pet portraits done.
It didn’t take long for Molly’s portraits to gain popularity here on Bainbridge; however, they were also a hit with her airline coworkers in Seattle and others who had seen them. To date, she estimates that she’s drawn more than 100 portraits since that first sketch in 2019. They vary in sizes, usually 5 x 7-inch, 8 x 10-inch and 9 x 12-inch formats. However, she did complete a large format piece that sold for nearly $1,000. She typically charges clients by the square inch and by the number of subjects in a particular portrait. “One lady asked me to do seven pets on one page,” she said. “It was crazy.”
Molly noted that the time it takes to complete a portrait “is dependent on size and complexity of the composition. Anywhere from 5-10 hours for my smaller sizes and 10-20+ hours for my larger sizes. I did have one take me a little over a month to complete but it was a custom size of 16 x 20 inches.”
Although she draws quite a few dogs and cats, she’s also drawn a chicken and a horse. “I did however have a bit of a morbid request a few months ago,” she recalled. “I was asked to draw a dog that had recently passed. At first, this seemed like a normal request and typically, when someone reaches out for me to draw their deceased animal, it has lived a normal life span. After receiving the photo, I realized the puppy had passed a couple days after it was born. Sadly, the puppy didn’t even live long enough to walk or open its eyes.”
That wasn’t her only usual request though. She was asked to draw a hunting dog with his kill, and while she admitted the idea didn’t appeal initially, she said it turned out to be “a very cool project for me because I really got a feel for the dog’s personality.”
Though she’s studied other mediums, she prefers to use pencil/graphite, noting that she toyed with colored pencils and pastels during covid, but it isn’t something she’s passionate about. Pencil drawing is “more exact than (using) free-flowing paints and pastels. It’s the math part of my brain coming in (to play),” she said. “I don’t really enjoy abstract art. With portraits, it either looks like the (subject) or it doesn’t.”
Molly also draws people, something she did quite a bit during college—such as figure drawing via professional posing in her class, sketches of friends and random people she saw in public places. Human portraits are something she enjoys and offers it as an additional option on her website.
More recently, Molly decided to turn her portrait drawing into a formal business and Molly Brahmer Artwas born. Ordering a pet or human portrait is easy via her website. You simply submit a clear image via email (click here for details on clarity, size, etc.) and choose the portrait size you’d like, in addition, shipping is free on all domestic orders.
Her mission is to “Continually create beautiful art to memorialize your loved ones.” Although she does admit that it can be an emotional exercise, “When a pet I drew passed a way, it was sad for me,” she says. “They become my friends!”
Molly’s long-term goal is to someday swap out her nearly full-time flying career in favor of her art business. “It would be nice if this was my main source of income and flying was supplemental,” she said.
Molly Brahmer Art can be found on Instagram, Facebook and her website: Molly Brahmer Art