Retirement comes quickly for some people.  They find themselves struggling with how to use all their free time.  That was the case for an Erie woman who eventually decided to rediscover her love for art.  She's now using that talent to help her favorite non-profit.

Kathy Griffith spends her free time drawing portraits of other people's dogs.  Kathy had time on her hands after retiring from the Erie Insurance Marketing Department in January 2020.  She studied art decades ago and a friend advised her to resurrect that talent after all those years.  In November 2020, Kathy started to draw the faces of dogs that belong to friends and relatives and then present the drawings as gifts.

"I think I gifted like maybe 6 or 7 drawings and loved it,” remembers Kathy.  “But then somebody would say, 'Would you do one for me and I'll pay you for it."

Kathy was shocked by the word-of-mouth popularity of her drawings. The longtime volunteer and board member at the Erie City Mission quickly came up with an idea.

"It just hit me that it could be a fund raiser for the City Mission, said Kathy.  “So my goal when it started I was going to charge $50 which sounded very, very high to me. I'm not an artist.  What if somebody didn't like it?"

People did not just like the art work.  They loved it.  Kathy's initial goal was to raise $200 for the City Mission.  That total is now at $2,500 and growing.  She had to cut off orders for this Christmas season. The waiting list now extends into January.  Kathy herself decides whether the portrait would be best done in pencil, charcoal, or paint. Dog owners simply send her a photograph of their beloved pet and Kathy does the rest. It takes her about 6 to 8 hours for each drawing.

"To see people being happy with a tribute to their dog that they love and also know that this is helping the City Mission, makes me feel good,” says Kathy.  

Kathy loves dogs.  She loves drawing.   She loves the City Mission. It's a wonderful retirement.

"This is a way of kind of marrying a bunch of loves into something that just works.  And it works for me most of all.  It really does.  I absolutely love it."

Anyone interested in ordering a framed drawing can contact Kathy by sending her a message on Facebook.  She goes by the name "Kathy Green Griffith" on Facebook. The price is still $50.