“Jack and Harry” – darling dogs

Jack and Harry – Jack on the left and Harry on the right – are famous.   More famous than even they know.   Their portrait has made the local paper and if a quiet introspective life was what they were pitching for – their new found fame will end that.

Jack and Harry belong to Liz – a wonderful energetic lady who has recently moved into the area.   Liz is often seen walking these two for kilometers upon kilometers and then enjoying a cup of coffee and a snack at the local Flame Tree Cafe while the dogs lap up refreshing water from a bowl provided for them.   Because they are so cute and such a part of the fabric of our community now as everyone seems to  know them and their owner – this painting was a no-brainer.

I’m not sure of their breeds – but those of you who have similar will know.   I will definitely ask Liz though and update this post.

German Shepherd “Cody” and her best friend Jay

Cody was a beautiful German Shepherd I was fortunate to meet one day during our long very hot summer this 2017 year.   With days over 40 degrees celsius every day for over two weeks during January, her owner Samantha our admin lady, brought her into the office at our pleading so she could enjoy air-conditioned comfort.   Sadly less than two weeks later she was dead due to a twisted bowel and with her advancing years and poor outcome even with surgery – she left our lives.

We all felt terribly ripped off as she was such a joy and I offered to paint a portrait of her for the owner.   She sent me two photos by email.   One of the regal Cody resting on the lawn and the other of her eldest son Jay (Cody’s best friend) embracing her.

Naturally I love animals and children together so the decision was easy.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier “Quinn”

Quinn is a blue Staffy.   He was so called because he is the quintessential Staffy.

Staffy’s are one of the most popular dog breeds in Australia comprising two versions – the English Staffy and the American Staffy and Quinn is an English Staffy – shorter legged, more chunky and compact and one of the ‘smiling’ dog breeds, although Quinn is portrayed as the more serious regal dog he so deserves to be.   I thought I’d add in the flag just so no confusion reigned over his country of origin.   I will be painting an American Staffy commission soon and once posted it will be easy to see the differences.

Staffys come in all colours including brindle and pied.   They are great family dogs, happy, joyful and playful.   When you’ve owned a Staffy you know your heart has been stolen!

Doberman Pinscher “Rory”

The love of my Brother-In-Law Eric – apart from my sister to whom he is married – is his dog!

Rory is a beautiful, slightly crazy, full of life, engaging, Doberman Pinscher.   My sister Trudi asked me to portray him in a painting but because it was intended to be a surprise for Eric’s birthday in September I was unable to post it until now.

She was able to send me some photos he had on his computer without him knowing.   None were really good enough for what I needed and I had to sneak a photo when I was visiting with them earlier in the year.   Taken through a glass door without Rory knowing or he would have bounded up to meet me and with poor light, this was the resulting painting – I’ve had to add detail in where there was none in the photo.   I hope Eric will like it.

I include another painting of Rory – he appears as “Golden Velvet” in another post because of the low evening light on the couch where he was resting giving a rich velvety affect.   This too was not a particularly clear image but the result is quite dramatic.   What do you think?

German Shepherd “Sultan” King of Dogs

Sultan is truly the most magnificent of dogs – a long-haired German Shepherd and a wonderfully intelligent, affectionate and striking animal.

I’ve owned a couple of gorgeous German Shepherds in my life and losing them both was very hard – all animal lovers know the crushing anguish and grief of saying a final goodbye to a wonderful animal companion whatever their breed.

Because I don’t have a life (yet) that allows for quantity time with such a loyal pet, I haven’t replaced them.   I do have cats and they are wonderful too, but there’s nothing quite like a dog.   One day I will have another Shepherd though – nothing is more certain.

Sultan is the largest piece I’ve done so far.  Pastel paintings need glass and mats for protection which makes larger works too heavy and transportation difficult therefore larger works are best done in another medium not requiring the added weight.


“Josje” and her Point of View

This is Josje, a Dutch Shepherd with beautiful brindle patterning.

Painting character hair or fur such as Josje’s is always a special challenge for the artist as the owner knows every stripe and spot and curve and line of their animal and will be especially critical if the painting misses that attention to detail.

After agonising for what seems like forever, I have finally added a background to Josje.   It was more difficult than I thought it would be.   The photo I was sent, had her sitting on a white tiled floor in the family room of her home – the lines of which provided a vanishing point above her head.   The whole picture was quite sepia in tonality including Josje herself and I wanted to play on that.

I thought about adding some enigmatic windmills in the distance (something Dutch) at the vanishing point line, but a roughed-in sketch on a photocopy looked ‘twee’ and comical.

In the end – thinking old photo edge, film strip edge, old paper edge, something sepia – I remembered the family she lives with have a building connection when I found an image of an old building plan with a ‘blueprint’ depicting some design – not clear and not relevant either except for two letters in the top left hand corner – NL.   Perfect.    That had to be Nederland.   The paper was old and stained and creased – I wondered if it might work.   The vanishing point lines of the tiles would instead become blue print lines.

An artist has to be brave sometimes and this has me out on a limb.   I hope the paper doesn’t detract from the subject Josje as she is so lovely – I can always soften the background or blot it out somehow but I just don’t want it to be ordinary and ho hum.

There always has to be a story.   Always.

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