|  what’s a pouka?  |

noun        |         pou*ka         |         \’poo kah\

1. A benign but mischievous creature from Celtic mythology who is especially fond of social outcasts.

2. The invisible 6’3″ tall rabbit from the 1950 comedy-drama movie entitled “Harvey” starring Jimmy Stewart.

3. A nickname given to Danica by her father who apparently thought she had poukaesque characteristics.

“Inside Voice” – Self-portrait.

My name is Danica Barreau (duh-NEE-kuh buh-ROH) and I’m the redhead you see plastered all over this site. I’ve written my name phonetically because people always pronounce it wrong – don’t worry; I won’t hold it against you. It happens every. single. day. I had a Starbucks barista pronounce it correctly last week and I was almost too stunned to grab my drink. Almost.

My mom is a retired DoDDS teacher (which partially explains my obsession with the oxford comma and my preference for military time) and my dad is a sculptor, painter, and chef. He’s also French so, yeah, je parles francais. I spent a few years in France, about thirteen years in Germany, and moved to the US in ’92.

I live in central Ohio with a very patient school teacher and lots of dogs and cats, cooking fine meals, and pursuing my passion for art and photography. I’ve fostered over twenty-five dogs for English Setter rescue,  and even owned a dog daycare for several years called “The PawSpa for Dogs”.

My painting and photography is a creative outlet for all the ideas I have buzzing around in my head. If I had to keep them all inside, I think I’d explode. Being able to put things on paper (because, yes, digital paintings and photographs are absolutely made to be printed) quiets the inside voices.


Client pencil portrait.

The proof that professional digital artists don’t just use filters
or click a few buttons to create their works is that all of our paintings look different. We have unique approaches to brushwork and composition and color. I hope you choose me because you love my work. I’m very serious about my craft and I love creating artwork for other people.


  • I worked in traditional pencils, creating portraits for friends and family for many years before I started experimenting with the digital medium. I understand the texture of brushstrokes on various surfaces and how colors should blend. It also gives my digital work a unique style.

  • I have been the Artist of the Year in Ohio for three years running, I’m a Certified Professional Photographer, I’ve received bronze, silver, and platinum medals for my artwork at the International level, and I have my Master Artist and Master of Photography degrees from the Professional Photographers of America.
  • I take continuing education classes throughout the year, attend conventions and product expositions, and keep up to date with new software releases so that I stay at the peak of my game and provide my clients with the best final product possible.
  • My paintings are an investment and will bring you a lifetime of memories and smiles!
Colored pencil portrait of my mother.
The artist with her father and PPA President Stephen Thetford receiving her Master Artist degree.
Portrait of a digital artist (with cat).

|  the staff  |



The photography and painting studio is a group effort. Heather works as a dog wrangler and a VAL (voice-activated light stand) and is an integral part of our success.



Nugget, a kitten our assistant found wandering on the playground at a local preschool, has risen rapidly through the ranks at the studio and now manages every activity there. She watches the on-screen editing with an eagle eye and doesn’t hesitate to point out mistakes.



Roundriver’s A. Finch is a young Ryman English Setter with a tongue storage problem. He works in the studio as a light tester, standing in for clients so that the photographer can get the lights set up in the right place. He’s very patient and works for vast amounts of treats.



DeCoverly’s Sparrow Georgette CGCA ACT2 TKA is a bilaterally deaf Ryman English Setter. She plays a very important role in the studio – foot warmer for the editing staff. She was the original light tester but happily passed that role on to her younger brother.



Sam, another recently rescued kitten, finishes off the two-man warming team by hanging out on the backs of the chairs to keep the necks of the editors warm. At twelve pounds, he also provides a bit weight training.

English Setter in bunny ears


Yes, I photograph a lot of English Setters. I rescued a very photogenic deaf English Setter (ACES Carter “Bunny” LeDoux) back in 2005 and documented his every move for years, using him to practice my photography skills. I became a foster parent and photographed my English Setter fosters and then volunteered to photograph other foster dogs. I have photographed many different breeds but my clients come from word of mouth; the English Setter community is very tight-knit so many of my subjects are English Setters.

I adopted another deaf English Setter in 2013 (DeCoverly’s Sparrow Georgette) and then another in 2014 (RoundRiver’s A. Finch) so they show up frequently in my personal images, Instagram, and Facebook posts. Click here for more information on Deaf English Setters.

For Fellow Photographers

I shoot with a crop-sensor Canon 7D Mark II and occasionally I borrow a Sony a7R ii. I use a Flashpoint Rovelight strobe and an old PB White Lightening as well as multiple Yongnuo and Canon flashes triggered with the Yongnuo 622 series. I use a variety of modifiers – a 5′ octo, a beauty dish, a strip box, a 2×3 softbox… whatever gets the results I need! I process my images in Adobe LR and PS using a Wacom Intuos tablet. My website is self-designed WP using a Divi theme and hosted by GoDaddy (since 1998).


Bachelor of Science, major in Interior Design  – The Ohio State University – 1992
Certified Professional Photographer – Professional Photographers of America – 2017
Master Artist Degree – Professional Photographers of America – 2019
Master of Photography Degree – Professional Photographers of America – 2020


Professional Photographers of Ohio (PPO), current board member, print competition chairperson
Professional Photographers of America (PPA)
American Society of Photographers (ASP)


The House That Pinterest Built“, Diane Keaton, Rizzoli Publishing, 2018
Puppycake.com, 2018
“Loan Collection Book”, Professional Photographers of America, Marathon Publishing, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016
“Showcase Book”, Professional Photographers of America, Marathon Publishing, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017
Setterly Yours“, Danica Barreau, Ingramspark, 2016, 2009
“Orvis – The Dog Book”, Orvis, 2014
“Just English Setters Calendar”, Willowcreek Press, 2018, 2017, 2016


Grand Imaging Award, 3rd Place – Animal Portrait – 2019, 2017 – PPA
Grand Imaging Award, 3rd Place – Creative Open – 2019 – PPA
Prix de la Photographie de Paris – Silver Medal – 2020
Prix de la Photographie de Paris – Honorable Mention – 2019, 2017
Animal Image Makers Print Competition – Silver – 2020
Photographer of the Year / USG Salyers Award – 2019 – PPO
The Ohio Arts Council – purchased for permanent collection – 2019
The Ohio State Fair – Fine Arts Exhibit Acceptance – 2019
ASP State Elite Award – 2020, 2019
NE District Award, 1st Place – Animals – 2019, 2017 – PPA
NE District Award, 1st Place – Creative Open – 2019 – PPA
J. Anthony Bill Award – 2019, 2018 – PPO
Kubiak Award – 2020 – PPO
National CPP Award – 2020, 2019 – PPO
International Photographic Competition – Platinum – 2019 – PPA
International Photographic Competition – Gold – 2020 – PPA
International Photographic Competition  – Bronze – 2018 – PPA
Top 10 Ohio Photographer – 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 – PPO
IPPY Independent Publisher Awards – Silver – 2017
Best in Show, Photography – 2019, 2010 – Arts in the Alley
1st Place Professional Photography – 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 – Arts in the Alley
2nd Place Professional Photography – 2014, 2013 – Arts in the Alley
3rd Place Professional Photography – 2019, 2017 – Arts in the Alley
2nd Place in Amateur Photography – 2012 – Arts in the Alley
Grand Easel Award – 2011 – Arts in the Alley
People’s Choice Award, Photography – 2010, 2009 – Arts in the Alley


The Ohio State Fair – Fine Arts Exhibit Acceptance, 2019
Artist of the Year – 2020, 2019, 2018 – PPO
International Photographic Competition – Silver –  2019, 2018, 2016 – PPA
International Photographic Competition – Bronze – 2017 – PPA
Top 10 Ohio Artist – 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 – PPO
Professional Photographers of Ohio – 4/4 – 2020, 2019, 2018
Studio Pro Group Pictorial Award – 2017 – PPO
Prix de la Photographie de Paris – Honorable Mention – 2017
1st Place in Image Competition, Artist Category, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 – PPO
PASO Most Creative Image Award – 2020, 2016 – PPO
People’s Choice, Fine Arts – 2019 – Arts in the Alley
1st Place in Fine Arts – 2016 – Arts in the Alley
Judge’s Award – Fine Arts – 2016 – Arts in the Alley
Top 10 Artist NE District – 2016 – PPA