Pet Palette Proficiency

Retired Yukon teacher excels at painting animal portraits

Yukon artist Deana Clingerman, a retired teacher, works on a portrait painting of a horse in her “studio” – an extra bedroom in her home.

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

A retired Yukon educator has quickly become accomplished at painting animal and pet portraits.

A Yukon High School graduate, Deana Clingerman ended her education career in 2021 after 26 years. She was a classroom teacher and curriculum technology director for Yukon Public Schools, then spent four years as kids pastor at Discovery Church-Yukon.

Clingerman has always been crafty and artsy, having taken several art courses in college before deciding to become a teacher.

“I always enjoyed doing arts and crafts with my kids when I was teaching at Shedeck Elementary School,” she said.

“But I have never created anything to this caliber before. I am excited to see where this endeavor might take me.”

Looking to make a little extra retirement money, Clingerman began painting this January – and she’s already completed about 25 animal portraits. She also offers paint parties and paint days for kids and adults.

She’s become proficient in using pictures to paint portraits of horses, dogs, cats, and cattle. It takes the local artist an average of seven to eight hours for each painting.

“I’ve been getting people asking if I could do their pets,” Clingerman said. “I just finished up a Christmas ornament for a girl who lost one of her dogs.”

Clingerman plans to stick with painting portraits of animals – not humans.

“I really like the ‘tapping’ technique that I’ve developed for the animals, which gives (the painting) a fur texture,” she explained. “I really like how that has turned out.”

And because of her technique, Clingerman typically doesn’t use an easel when she paints – preferring to lay the canvas flat on her table.



Admittedly “on a whim,” Clingerman decided to paint all 12 of the horses in Savannah Station’s therapeutic horseback riding program.

“I really did not expect these horse portraits to come out like they did,” she shared. “My initial expectation would be that they would be whimsical and playful. But, by the second horse, the portraits began taking on more life-like features.

“They came out better than I expected. Not only was it surprising to my family and friends, but it was surprising to me, as well.”

Blue is one of 12 horses painted by the Yukon artist.

To help the cause, Clingerman decided to donate these portraits to be auctioned off during Savannah Station’s 10th annual gala Aug. 18 at the Palace Event Center, 2310 N Banner. She’ll also sell prints, with 25% benefitting the program.

Clingerman describes herself as an animal lover, owning two horses and three Golden Retriever dogs.

“No, I haven’t painted any of my animals yet,” she said. “I’ve been pretty busy.”

Anyone interested in learning more about Clingerman’s portrait painting should contact the Yukon artist at or (405) 326-9588.