The past three months have been happily full of commissions - paintings that others have asked me to create to honor pets of their family and friends. I enjoy making these little portraits, wondering about the personalities and character of the furry loved ones, pets that have touched the lives of their families to the point that someone knew they deserved a portrait. I cherish the paintings of my own sweet dogs that are now gone. I so hope that I have somehow captured these other beloved furry friends in their own paintings. Regardless, painting them brings me joy, and that is certainly worth doing!
A friend recently asked me to paint her three pets, two cats and a dog. Having known this family for years, but now separated from them by half the country, I was delighted to take on this project as it gave me a chance to "spend some time" with these animals. Drew, Mo, and Hank - your paintings have kept me company this winter/spring and I was a little sad to send them on their way. What fun they were to create!
I love this painting of our sweet Pedro that I created this past February. This was inspired by a photo taken several years ago when living in Denver, CO. Both Pedro and Deuce were lying together on the couch (as they often did then), looking out of the front window at birds or neighbors or whatever was passing by. This painting captures Pedro well, and I really like using blue for the highlights on his black fur. Pedro was always one of the grownups (whereas Deuce acted like a kid, even as a really old man), and I called him our nanny-dog when Calvin was a baby as he would always be the first to respond to any of Calvin's cries, sniffing and nudging and licking as needed to help take care of his little "puppy". I think this painting shows his serious, old soul, quietly watching, attentive but calm personality.
This was another attempt at painting Bernie (my brother-in-law's dog), but I didn't quite capture his face right. It was from a picture taken by the very talented Jaclyn Johnston about ten years ago. (www.JaclynPaigePhotography.com)
Our cat Skylar has been more difficult to paint. I haven't quite got her personality down in the paint, but that is pretty typical for me as a painter right now - sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is a struggle. I'll just have to keep trying until I get "her" on the canvas.
Bernoulli the dog has the biggest personality of any animal I have ever met! It was such a joy to paint this picture, reminiscing back 10 years or so when he and Deuce played in the backyard. What a crazy, ornery, sweet, stubborn, wonderful, slobbery, lovable dog! Thank you to Jaclyn Paige Johnston for the beautiful original photograph that guided me in this painting.
Pets were a big source of inspiration for me this past year. Painting my dog Deuce, who passed away in late 2014, was especially therapeutic. Focusing on his face allowed me to remember the details of his eyes, ears, muzzle. Dogs communicate so much with their ears and face (and tail, of course) - it was nice to touch his face again, even if it was just with brush and paint. I miss that dog.