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 finally edited the video of a presentation I did last year as a "Pecha Kucha", a style of presentation where each presenter is given 6 minutes to show 20 slides for 20 seconds each. The presenter has no control of the slideshow. It was tricky! The topic was "Kitsch- Bad Art Gone Good", link below to youtube vid. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=557plP37R24
I recently returned from a wonderful trip to NYC. Stayed where I stayed at a friend's loft twenty years ago, two blocks from the Hudson in lower Manhattan. Twenty years ago I painted my dog, Shake Sugaree, sitting near the river in front of a long distance view of the Statue of Liberty. Same view twenty years later.
Ivy and Sucia, a digital painting created on the iPad, soon to be an actual painting. Ivy, the black adolescent, is a Rhodesian Ridgeback/Yellow Lab mix from South Africa. Sucia is a Catahouia Hound rescue dog from New Orleans. Quite the duo. No one comes into this house without their permission. This painting was ordered as a wedding present but without enough time to create the actual painting before the big day. Since I can create a painting on the iPad in a couple of days, a print of the beloved pair was presented as the wedding gift with the painting to come later. Now time to get out to the studio and turn this into something made with brushes and canvas and paint that comes in jars.
Fuzzy and Time, greyhounds who spent their early years at the track are retired. Now they are "40mph couch potatoes"- either bolting or lounging. Their human companion and greyhound rescue advocate, Robin, says about greyhounds, "they are like potato chips . . . you can't have just one." She says that they are sweet, loving, calm, and funny. I want to hear why they are funny.Digital painting created on the iPad.
Another beloved dog has passed. Little Daisy was sweetness embodied: joyful, loving, and so treasured. What a gift they are, these beings who come to teach us what unconditional love is.From Daisy's human companion: "Our sweet Little Daisy peacefully departed this world in the arms of her family earlier in the evening. She was the light of our lives and will be missed more than words can say." I will miss you too, Little Daisy, furry bright flower.
Another great soul has passed. I received this note yesterday from the human companion of Angus:"Angus was the sweetest dog I ever knew and one of the rare genuinely good people to grace this earth."
Angus was one of those zen-like dogs who seemed to be kind in every cell. He possessed equanimity and grace. Except for squirrels. Maybe for them too, as I don't believe he ever caught one. He did keep us safe from them however, when we took a walk at Lincoln Park years ago. Angus was a sweetheart of a dog. I painted a second painting of Angus for myself, of him napping, and it hangs over my desk. He keeps me company always. I like that.
I posted this painting of Chacho on facebook two days ago, and this morning I received an email from Chacho's human companion, telling me that Chacho departed from this world yesterday. I had no idea that Chacho was preparing to move on. I just have to post Chacho again, this time as a tribute to his gallant life. When I was painting him, I kept thinking of him as heroic- bigger than life, with his giant enthusiasm for play, for work, for people, for life. Here are the words I received this morning, which could not better describe this truly wonderful dog:
"We had to let our wonderful, beloved Chacho go yesterday. I can't stop crying and he is worth every tear. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect dog. He was the happiest person I've ever met, always the jester and comedian reminding us not to take ourselves so seriously. He made us laugh every day and he made the most of everything we did together. After more than fourteen years, that was a lot. He was joyful, kind, exuberant, a prankster, and a thief. He was ornery enough to make it interesting. He was demanding and communicative with his looks and chortles and, of course, no one who knew him will forget that smile. He loved like the big-hearted Chessie that he was, literally grinding himself into us with affection. He was game for everything and he drained every ounce from the cup until there was nothing left. And he gave all of himself to us. I am grateful. May his soul be tied in the knot of life." LS
May we meet again, Chacho.
Back to Seattle from a trip in the unbelievably gorgeous San Juan mountains in Colorado with my dad, sis, and niece. Had a ball!This is one of my first dog paintings, of my sister's Golden Retriever, Zeb, named after Zebulon Pike, explorer for whom Pike's Peak in Colorado is named. We didn't visit Pike's Peak, but other peaks which I think were impressive, remote, and beautiful. Zeb is no longer of this world, unless he has reincarnated in some other form. He was a very good dog- gentle, spirited, a ball freak and a bit goofy. We still miss him.
Theo- or "The Sheriff" as he is affectionately known at the dog park. The big guy would take it upon himself to break up any fights at the park, as peaceful coexistence is his dogma. Theo got cancer over five years ago and went through a very expensive treatment involving 3 surgeries. His human companion told him "now you owe me five years!" Theo has given that and more, and is still going, even though the cancer returned two more times. He is an admirable fellow, for many reasons. Calm, joyful, and loved by many, this painting was a gift to Theo's human companion from an admirer from the dog park.
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!