There are many steps in the creation of a painting, beginning with the initial on-site interview with the dogs and people (if at all possible, it's the best first step! to actually meet the dogs on their home turf and have a face to face with all parties). I sketch and photograph the dogs in their environment, and take notes during the interview about the particular personalities of the animals in order to better know how to portray them being most themselves. Then I create a digital painting in order to determine the basic composition. I email images of the digital painting to the client, who then makes suggestions and requests for changes. This process repeats itself until both the client and I are satisfied with the digital painting, which then becomes the model for the actual physical painting.
Then I start painting in the studio. It usually takes several email reviews of the work in progress by the client before we arrive at a final piece. Here are the many versions of Sucia and Ivy.
Five dogs, all rescues, share a peaceful home in Snohomish, WA.From left to right, Allie- who is certain she is alpha to the world, Pearl- the equanimous Buddha, and watcher of all creatures in trees, Lou-the real pack leader; tolerant of all and friend to all, Ruthie- the gentle one, but can be sneaky and crafty, and Gussy- the Diva, who knows she is the prettiest. This may have been the most fun I've ever had painting!
Allie, aka "Brown Boss" Nine years old now, Allie was five weeks when she was dropped at Everett Animal Shelter, all alone, with no siblings and no mother. Julie took Allie home to foster her, as Allie's prospects were grim at that age without a mama. The intent was to raise her to an age at which she could be adopted, but Allie developed Parvo after a month, and needed special care. Allie survived, and after going through that together, Julie decided they were meant for each other. Allie stayed. But she was "the puppy from hell", who had learned no socialization skills from interactions with siblings and mama. She bit hard and scratched fiercely, was headstrong and independent, but gradually became the sweet girl she is now. She is the first to greet someone and first out the door, and it is understood that she rules amongst the dogs, but she never shows aggression. She does handle herself with assertiveness in her body language, which is enough. She likes to tease and has a sense of humor- she knows what pushes buttons on the other dogs and will do it just for a joke, actually standing over them, laughing. She loves children, stuffed animals, and car rides. She hates fireworks.
From Julie, Allie's person: "You captured her so totally! If I saw this painting anywhere and didn't know anything about it, I would know that it is Allie- her body language, her expression, her "in your face" pose- all Allie. I love it!"