I was delighted to have many takers when I offered a special on Mother’s Day portraits this year! This image was was a particular favorite of mine… This baby’s rapt expression makes me nostalgic for those locked-in moments with my own little one. My client Kevin commissioned this painting of his girlfriend and her grandchild for Mother’s Day gift for her as a way to preserve this sweet, fleeting connection.
8″x10″ 2013, acrylic on canvas. Well, that was quite the holiday rush! I think I painted a portrait a day for a solid 4 weeks! I had absolutely no time to make blog posts, so I’ll be playing catch up a bit this week. I thought I’d start by showing you what is probably my favorite dog portrait of the season (and it was really mostly dogs rather than toys, which was a lovely change of pace!) When I saw the beautiful source photo that Jessica sent me to work from I think I actually cheered. Jessica’s Great Dane puppy is named Nola, but her nickname is “Crazy.” Jessica describes her as the “most loving, cuddly, nosey, gentle giant you will ever meet.” Up next: More dogs!
8″x10″ acrylic, 2013. Fourteen-year-old Kiki, whose real name is Madeline, can almost always be found at the feet of one Shelby’s four children. The family compares her to Nana from the Peter Pan stories, as she has watched over the little ones all their lives. One of the kids’ first word was “Kiki!” Her face has grayed in recent years and she is probably deaf, but Shelby suspects Kiki might just be ignoring her at this point. I recently painted a portrait of Shelby’s family in the guise of classic Little People… if only Fisher-Price had made a little pug figure!
8″x10″ acrylic, 2013. It was a pleasure and an honor to paint this memorial for Jake, a beautiful Boykin spaniel. The portrait will be a gift from Joyce to her brother, who’s beloved dog passed unexpectedly a few weeks ago. Jake was trained to hunt and Joyce asked me to be sure to include the two dove feathers in his fur that could be seen in her wonderful source photo. Joyce learned about my work through her friend Sami, whose dogs Sadie and Pepper I painted last year.
7″x9″ acrylic on board, 2013. That expression… we call that her “busy face.” Sonja looks this way whenever she is engrossed in an object or activity, and it ranges from mildly pursed and focused to bug-eyed and vibrating. Here’s an extreme example from her babyhood: Needless to say, we have found the Busy Face to be an endless source of amusement over the years, which Sonja, now five, finds a bit annoying at this point. We recently acquired a container of classic Tinkertoys at our local thrift shop, and painting her working with them has gotten me interested in making portraits of children engaged with their favorite toys. This seems to be a natural progression from years of portraits of kids and toys individually! Here’s an etsy listing for just such a dual portrait here if you’d like one of your own.
I was honored to paint this memorial portrait of Toga, a boxer who belonged to Michael and Stephen from 2007 until his passing this past January. Michael shared this history of their beloved dog:
“He was found as a sick and emaciated stray in Philadelphia when he was around 2 years old. From there a Boxer rescue organization found a foster home for him in Malta. That couple nursed him back to health and we adopted him in the summer of 2007 as a companion to a puppy boxer we’d gotten the year before. He was with us for almost 6 years. He was the most strong willed dog I’ve ever met but also exceptionally loyal, goofy and loving. He spent so many summer days working with me in the front yard that the neighbors came to call him the Mayor of Foxhall (our street). Last year he was diagnosed with a heart condition that we were treating. The picture you painted was taken the day before he passed in January. He had been running around the beach at a home we’d just purchased on Cape Cod. He was healthy and active up until his very last day. That night after we’d returned to NY a valve in his heart failed and he passed quietly. I’m sure that he’ll go down as the most unique dog we’ve ever owned.”
This painting was commissioned by Michael as a gift for Stephen’s birthday. Michael tells me that Toga was the inspiration for their friend Tim’s adoption of Olive the boxer, whose present-day and puppyhood portraits I painted earlier this year!
8″x10″ acrylic, 2013. The name “Sadie means “mercy” or “princess” if you look it up, but shouldn’t this definition be updated to include “early 21st century adored canine?” I’ve painted many a beautiful dog named Sadie! This pup belongs to Mary’s dear friend, who loves gardening almost as much as she loves her Lhasa Apso. Sadie is pictured here relaxing in her favorite spot among the foliage while her owner prunes and plants. This painting will be a gift from Mary, who has commissioned some of my most interesting projects over the years! Here’s Mary’s own dog in a Santa Suit, and, for her children, portraits of CatDog, a Rugrat, and the Toy Story Alien!
5″x7″ acrylic, 2013. As an incredibly thoughtful and clever Valentine’s Day gift for his wife, Tim commissioned a pair of portraits of the couple’s beloved boxer Olive. The first painting depicts Olive as a puppy, and this one shows her as she is today, a loveable “smush” usually found sprawled upon the couch.
5″x7″ acrylic, 2013. Tim racked up a gazillion husband points this past Valentine’s Day with this amazing two-part gift to his wife! Their beloved boxer Olive is like a member of their family, and Tim commissioned two little portraits of her: One as a a puppy, and the other as the couch-loving cuddler she is today. Tim describes her (Olive, not his wife!) as “a big smush.” Here she is as a baby… watch for my next post to see her all grown up!
9″x12″ acrylic, 2013. These two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels share the same father, an evident bounty of affection for each other, and some self-imposed responsibilities around the house! Ben, the brown pup, is four years old and is known to Heather and her family as the “fireman.” If any sort of smoke is in the air, Ben begins to tremble and act peculiar… in fact, he usually needs to be held and comforted for about a half an hour in order to calm down. Six-year-old Jake is the family’s “policeman” who barks mightily at any outside noise or visitor. This amazing “spooning” pose isn’t a common occurence, according to Heather, but speaks volumes about the relationship between the two brothers.