In short, Grant is no painter of benign domestic scenes.
A 25-year resident of an area surrounded by open fields and historic villages, Grant tends to produce what she calls paintings with edge.
Her dogs are typically muscular, territorial breeds such as Dobermans and mastiffs. They are often juxtaposed with children who have blurred faces or their eyes obscured by black strips. A single painting may include animals and unrelated items such full moons and bar codes.
Although she has exhibited in shows centered on animal imagery, including the current ``Amazing Animal Show,'' at the Salon Des Amis Gallery on Yellow Springs Road, Grant doesn't focus entirely on four-legged domestics.
Dogs are merely part of what Grant calls thought-provoking imagery drawn from many sources, including books on international signs and Toys R Us ads.
A short list of Grant's imagery - some found in a single painting the size of a garage door - may include popular cultural images drawn from Grant's own 1950s childhood: Barbie dolls and fallout shelter symbols.
``I'm painting a lot about suburbia, in a way, with the animals, the dogs, the children and the domestic scenes,'' Grant said recently at her home, ``But there is an undercurrent of suburbia that is not nice . . . there are rough spots in the road like everywhere else.''
``You need a little bit of edge so they're not too sweet or sentimental,'' Grant added, speaking of her paintings, which she concedes are difficult to describe.
Even the frames are complicated: they're densely painted and have shapes that amplify the paintings' themes.
Grant, a self-sufficient, spritely woman who recently became a grandmother, used to build the frames herself. She once spent hours doing things such as dipping silk flowers into glue and twisting hemp rope for a frame, Grant said.
Now she just designs the frames and turns her lumber-yard collection of moldings over to Steve Beaver, 35, a friend who is a professional carpenter.
``I think we help each other that way,'' Beaver said. ``I've become a little more arty and a little less of a perfectionist.''
Grant said that her friend of nine years has introduced her to new exhibit venues, such as his friends' nearby restaurant, Cedar Hollow Inn.
Until recently, Grant, whose work is at the State Museum of Pennsylvania as well as in large corporate collections, has been removed from the artwork-over-the-sofa-buying public, partly because of the size of her paintings.
``People used to get uptight about large paintings here,'' Grant said. ``But that's changing. I think Chester County has really grown up.''
Grant spoke during a tour of her home, which operates like a kind of revolving exhibit, with paintings on their way out to juried shows or left to simmer for time after Grant completes them.
Her paintings, which include landscapes, all created with layers of oil paint, may take her up to a month to finish. They also typically go through major stylistic changes, such as a figure that becomes a dog, or a dog that becomes a figure. Her father was a veterinarian, which may explain the animal imagery, Grant says.
Grant said that she used to be described as a ``painter's painter,'' in the years after she graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1987. Today, she thinks the ambiguous nature of her work ``gives the viewer something to hook into.''
``I want people to enjoy [the paintings] on a number of different levels,'' Grant said, ``If they like animals, or the colors, or the arrangement, they can relate to that. I think by using images and symbols people can recognize on some level, the work becomes accessible.''
IF YOU GO * ``The Amazing Animal Show'' continues through Sept. 30 at the Salon des Amis Gallery, 2321 Yellow Springs Rd., Malvern. Open Tuesdays through Sundays 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Part of the proceeds from the sale of artwork goes to the Francisvale Animal Shelter and the Greyhound Rescue.