Stray Dog Arts

the power of charm....

Today I met with a husky mix named Sadie for a photo shoot. It was early which made for wonderful light. Sadie, along with her mom, met me at a coffee shop and--oh my(!)--I think I will be returning there often. I love finding new places that posses charm. You know, it is the little things that inspire me the most. And speaking of inspired...those eyes of Sadie's have me under a spell!

Today is another one of those days when I feel extraordinarily happy to be doing what I do. Painting intelligent, sensitive, intuitive, beautiful dogs...I mean, seriously, could it possibly get any better than this?

I can't help it. I'm still obsessed with tennis balls.

I've been in the studio playing with a whole new pallette of colors.
And shapes.
And sizes.

Life is good.
Stay tuned. ;)

In the spirit of collaboration...

Every once in awhile life offers wonderful opportunities to collaborate--and Sarah of Sarah Beth Photography is one of the creative treats that the Universe has planted in my path. I enjoy working with Sarah whenever possible and, since a good painting often starts with a good photo...well, I think the rewards of collaborating with her are obvious.

Above is a photo that Sarah took of her dog, Gracie, who kept me company at the Animal Humane Society's Walk for Animals. Yep, that's me in the background--and Gracie is wearing a crisp new hankie in support of our friends from Pampered Pooch Playground (my dogs FAVORITE place in the ENTIRE universe!!!). While Sarah ran around with her camera capturing awesome shots of the event, Gracie and I had a good time saying hello to all the dogs and goats and people that came by my booth. The Walk was a great success with LOTS of people and BLUE skies!

Currently, I am seeking participants to become involved in a fund raising project and art exhibition in partnership with the Animal Humane Society. If you've been thinking about having your pet's portrait painted, now is your chance to have 20% of the commission cost go directly to animal rescue efforts! Sarah has kindly offered her photo shoot talents at a discounted rate. Please contact me if you're interested in learning more.

Recently Sarah and I also collaborated on a portrait of the beautiful dappled Daschund, Ms. Lola:

Lola's "papa" chose a photo of her carrying a shoe in her mouth because that is what she does most of the time. Oh, the little pink shoe. Lola is always with her beloved squeaky stuffed shoe. I love how that an image can "speak" to a person. Images hold stories. They hold memories. And they have the potential to hold incredible amounts of love. That's the part that I most enjoy capturing. Lola is one cool dog... and I only wish I had more time to just keep painting portraits of her. Gosh, I love it when I feel that way!

Roxy is another good example of collaborative inspiration. I mean, maybe it was just my imagination, but I swear I could hear a choir of angels singing every time I worked on Roxie's portrait! ha! What a beauty she is. Roxy belongs to Trish and Keith, the fantabulous owners of Pampered Pooch. Around our house we call them "Auntie Trish and Uncle Keith" because that is exactly who our dogs think they are. Actually, we usually have to whisper their names lest the dogs hear us and GO CRAZY with JOY at the thought of them!

The thing is that, when we pay attention, dogs are ALWAYS bringing people together. We talk to people, we become friends with people, sometimes we even fall in love with another person because of the dogs we spend time with.

I suppose that, for some, being a full time artist might be considered a lonely endeavor. I must admit, it is hard to get lonely when working with dogs. Dogs come with people and, often, they are the best people of all. People like Sarah and Trish and Keith are most definitely a perk in this dog-loving world I have so happily fallen into.

Sarah and I met through animal rescue work. As our creative lives continue to grow so does our friendship. One of the first collaborative projects we did together was of a dog named Mandy. Let us not forget dear Mandy!

Mandy, a whirlwind of energy, is a rescue dog whose portrait I painted for a fundraiser and art show held last November. Sarah took photos of Mandy at an adoption event in an effort to help her win the heart of a loving somebody. And it worked!

It seems to be the downfall of many artists (or critics or whoever) to sometimes get caught up in the notion that everything we do should be born out of a creative vacuum. Yes, I think it is important to have a strong style and even better to have a strong sense of self, but let's face it: it is impossible not to be, in some way, inspired by the world around us.

To me, art is a process of evolution--and I am endlessly fascinated by the way art connects us to the worlds that exist both within and around us.

And so, in the spirit of collaboration,
I leave you with the words of Helen Keller:
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

May all dogs be happy!

May the rest of us be lucky enough to be surrounded by friends
and creative cohorts who spark inspiration, allowing us to see
the details and beauties that exist beyond the scope of our own eyes.

See more great photos by Sarah here.


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