Another painting commissioned as a holiday gift, this one from parents to daughter. Meet Marley, the Portuguese water dog who doesn't like the water. She will wade out up to her ankles, then prance back to shore, seemingly a bit confused. Here she is at her window seat overlooking the lake in which she'd prefer not to swim. Sweet Marley, named after the extremely talented musician- (but she's a she- not that it matters).
Tribute to Wolfie- The Wise Man Spring, 2003- October 26, 2015
Wolf, reservation dog, found on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. He is a dog who wasn't meant to live- but then he did. He'd been abandoned and was found lying on his side, dying. Susan took him and gave him a chance at life, which turned out to be a very good one.
Wolf exuded dignity, confidence and calmness. He was steady, consistent, composed. He would look you straight in the eye and communicate his take on things, which was pretty much always, "no reason to get bent out of shape, everything is fine."
He was unruffled, even when there was chaotic activity around him. It was like he would watch and assess a situation, and then place himself in it as a calm, non-reactive presence, modeling for us how to live in this world of change.
When Susan and Wolf and my cranky Chihuahua, Pablo, and I would take walks together in a wooded area of Seattle where dogs often walk off leash, he would choose some giant fallen branch to carry along the path then drop it for me to sling a few feet so he could bring it back, with us wondering how in the world he could carry, in his mouth, something so massive. I started throwing his log choices over the ledge into the gulch just to make it require at least as much effort for him to retrieve as it was for me to hurl. As a young dog, he was tireless. His physical stature was impressive- strong, capable, in command, and gorgeous. He knew it. Sometimes large dogs would start to approach little Pablo and Wolf would place himself between Pablo and the intruder as if to say, "You gotta get by me first". He was Pablo's protector, even when Pablo would have a snappy outburst right in his face. Wolf never reprimanded Pablo, not once. He would just turn away and walk on as if nothing happened, and he would protect that pesky little pack member again the next time.
If I were to put words in Wolf's mouth they would be, even about his own death- "There is nothing serious going on here, all is well. I am still here. Now throw the log."
( I made greeting cards of this painting for Susan to use as holiday cards- on the inside she wrote:
"May you be blessed with peace, joy, and love. In other words, a bed, a book, and a dog."
I visited Pasado Safe Haven yesterday as I have become a community sponsor of this wonderful animal refuge that harbors a wide variety of animals- chickens, pigs, horses, cows, donkeys, geese, sheep, goats, and of course, dogs and cats. Pasado rehabilitates the animals, provides vet care and training, and places rescued animals in new homes. They adopted out hundreds of animals this past year to homes that were thoroughly checked out to ensure good placement. Pasado also does anti-cruelty work by investigating cruelty reports and working with law enforcement to remove the animals, and by promoting harsher cruelty penalties; and they've been successful in prosecuting cruelty cases. Pasado is doing remarkable work for animal welfare, and I am so happy to team up with them and support the work they do. "Love Bash", a fundraiser for Pasado, is coming up mid August, so go have a nice dinner and bid on some of the many items that have been donated to help keep Pasado going! Visit www.pasadosafehaven.org
From the happy family who lives with Casey Jones and Mr. Poppers and received the painting that I shipped to them last week."Dear Nancy We unpacked the picture and hung it in our kitchen. We truly love it. You have captured our special pets perfectly. It is a true treasure. We cannot thank you enough for this marvelous tribute to our furry friends. Again many thanks!"
Casey Jones, Mr. Poppers, and the neighborhood bunny as an actual painting, alongside the digital painting which preceded the final painting on canvas. I work out most of the composition and colors in the digital painting, but an actual painting has it's own life and dictates, so it never looks quite like the digital version- as it should be. Casey and Mr. Poppers are standing at the front porch entryway to their home just outside New York City, where they, the family, and the painting all live. The neighborhood bunny likes to taunt them. They give chase, but never catch up.
Jack of Hearts by Robin F. Gainey is out in paperback (Shimoni, the Jack Russell terrier on the cover is a cropped version of one of my paintings). Robin says "My novel, Jack of Hearts, is #5 on my publisher's Best Selling Paperback List after just one month!!!" (It's about the observations of a JRT in Italy who shares life with some not so valiant humans). Get it!
Meet Jodi and Moose, sisters for brothers. The family got Jodi and Moose as pups so each son could have their own dog. They would like a studio painting of the, now quite large, sister dogs. I start a studio painting with an iPad sketch of the proposed painting. It's not meant to be a finished painting for printing on canvas, but rather a mock up for a studio painting created with brushes and paint on canvas. I do create digital paintings for printing on canvas, but they have more detail and a more finished look to them. With this painting, that will happen in the studio.
Progression of a digital painting created on the iPad, of Belle (Beagle) and Penny (variety pack) with Pepper the cat (who doesn't like to leave the house) at home in Miami. The progression shows how much a painting can change as it is developed, and it's not done yet! Client feedback is helping to determine where the painting goes, and I'm waiting now for further suggestions and preferences to determine the next step in the painting. I will post the final version when we get there.
Art saves dogs! Bay Area Pet Fair was October 11 and 12 in San Rafael CA. I donated an image for tote bags which were given to each family that adopted a pet, full of goodies. Over 625 animals were adopted (and 625 bags given away) with 100 more adoptions expected. The remaining tote bags were sold for $5 each, and raised $6500 for rescue organizations. Some happy adoptees, with their bags. Lucky dogs! and cats too.
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.
I received an order for five prints on canvas to decorate the waiting room of a veterinary clinic in New York. He said he'd been looking for dog art for three years, and when he found me he knew he found the art he'd been seeking. He chose the images he wanted and sent a photo of the waiting room with the three benches. I sketched the benches against the yellow wall and experimented with varying sizes of prints on the wall using the paintings he was interested in, and suggested that maybe he would consider three large canvas dog prints rather than five smaller.He settled upon the last image, three large canvas prints of dogs, and one cat.