I was always reluctant to paint dog portraits. Dogs are more than a pet, they are members of your family and have their own distinct quirks and personalities which is why we love them ! How could I do justice to people’s perceptions . Friends would reply that I injected personality into my paintings of hare and cows. Well , I can make a hare look thoughtful , or a cow cheeky, but none of us know whether that animal has that personality ( well okay a farmer might !) however, a pet owner certainly does. So I resisted requests for years. I did then do a couple of paintings for friends and family , as a surprise (no pressure !)
The first ,of which I have a photographic record, was a painting featuring Barney, a gorgeous golden retriever, a friendly and easy going chap whose only fault was a tendency to seek out food at fifty paces , especially if his owner Debbie, a dear friend, had him on a diet ! Barney had died , so I used an old photo which captured the love he and Debbie had for each other, in one of their favourite locations. I loved doing this painting for her and treasure her reaction.
My daughter asked me if I would do a portrait of Lola, a Chihuahua, her friend Immy’s dog, for her 18th. Immy had a fabulous picture of Lola on her Facebook page , it didn’t require any tweaks being a beautiful photo already !As you can see the portrait is larger than life and poor Lola was totally unimpressed, luckily Immy was !
Others, for which I have a record, include Fanny, a 12 year old Blue Roan Cocker Spaniel, a wedding anniversary present for dear friends Geoffrey and Victoria .Finally, something I like to call the impossible picture, painted for my brother Carl’s 50th. This was a surprise and featured his first dog Sam, who died over 15 years ago, a Bearded Collie Cross and his current dog Alfie, a mad Springer Spaniel.
Following this, I was then approached to paint two dogs ,one also a springer, for a daughter’s 25th. When we got to the stage of discussing canvas size, the lady said “Oh no ! My daughter loves your hares, we’d like them in the same style( ie watercolour) as them . ” My initial reaction was also, oh no – I can’t do that !
I did and have done many more since . Will post about that on another day !