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.
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!
8″x10″ acrylic, 2013. This beautiful yellow lab is named Sadie, but children in the classrooms Sadie has visited want to know why she is not called “Salt!” Just like her companion Pepper, Sadie earned an American Kennel Club Canine Citizenship award working as a therapy dog. Sadie joined Sami’s family when she was eight months old. Now eight years old, Sadie is described by Sami as being a very “Marley and Me” kind of dog… They have chased her down highways and she’s eaten many a loaf of bread off the kitchen counter. Over time “Sadie-Bug” has proven to have some endearing quirks: She is afraid of stairs and is especially fearful of feet moving under bed-covers! She is a great traveller and enjoys cruising around in the family’s VW Beetle. Sadie is now the favorite friend of Sami’s little boy Samuel, who learned to say “‘Adie” just after “Momma” and “Daddy!”
8″x10″ acrylic, 2013. Pepper had countless charms and accomplishments, including an American Kennel Club canine good-citizenship award for her work as a therapy dog. Eleven years ago this weekend, Pepper was found as a six-month-old stray, scavenging and tormented by local kids. Once rescued, she was only apart from Sami for about 12 days over her lifetime, and traveled everywhere with her. When Pepper was four, the family got a lab named Sadie. The two dogs attended obedience school together, where Pepper flourished, amazing everyone with such tricks as covering her face demurely with her paws when Samie would ask, “are you shy?” Pepper loved obstacle courses and could jump through hula hoops. She could escape from almost any cage, fence, or room, and nimbly climb almost anything to reach food. Pepper became a therapy dog at age five, visiting hospitals and nursing homes, school reading programs, and a library program for autistic children. The tags hanging from Pepper’s collar were well-earned, and I’m honored to have painted this extraordinary dog!
8″x10″ acrylic, 2012. I knew I was in for a treat when I recieved the commission to paint this trio of pets from Andrew of Keep Albany Boring! Andrew is a phenomenal photographer, so I was sure to have beautiful, well-lit source material to paint from. How endearing is a huge dog who snuggles with cats? Ridiculous. The two cats, Oliver (white and caramel), Chex (black kitten,) and Sophie the dog belong to Andrew’s friends, who are also his roommates. The portrait was a gift for them for Christmas.