Rhonda Leonard has created Annabelle and her friends to teach simple life lessons to children.
She and her husband, Brian, live in Spartanburg County, nearby the mountains to the north and the beaches not too far to the east. And the area is graced with all four seasons in all their splendor.
Rhonda has been painting for about 20 years. After friends went on an African safari, Rhonda borrowed their photo album and picked the six animals who would become Annabelle, Mingo Rose, Glory, Leonard, Rico and Gazzie. She gravitated toward Annabelle because she had the most opportunity to use vibrant, happy colors, something that always captivates children.
“All of the animals were spectacular in their habitat, but two giraffes stood far above the rest, and I’ve been in love with them ever since,” Rhonda says. She first painted Annabelle in 2005. Since then, the two of them have enjoyed the fun journey of bringing Annabelle’s adventures to life.
They reside with their 11 cats and one dog – all of them rescues and enjoys spending time in her art studio. Brian has a pilot’s license and the two travel extensively. Their philanthropy benefits two South Carolina charities: Piedmont Women’s Center in Greenville and Canine Angels Service Dogs in Little River.