Icarus is a stately Borzoi (Russian wolfhound) who lives with his mom Beverley and canine siblings. I met his mom at the Healdsburg art festival one September. We made a lovely connection which deepened when she had the thought that I might paint Icarus' portrait. I went up to make his acquaintance that November - he is quite impressive. I'm not familiar with this type of dog, so it was a remarkable experience. He stands three feet tall at his withers. His sibs are not quite as big - but the three of them bounding about is something else! He's sweet and mischievous and like no other dog I've ever met. Beverley and her three and Bo and I had a nice time at the dog park near her place in Sonoma County. I took some photos of him, but none of them held a candle to the one that Beverley had of him. Taken by Julie Vader, a talented photographer-friend of Beverley's, it's a beautiful image. I didn't change a thing about the composition for the painting. I had fun monkeying with the colors in Photoshop and then making them come more alive than were in the original photo (of course!). It was tricky to paint his curling fur that was in shadow of the back-lighting. And I had to get my literal mind out of the way when painting the lower part, the grasses, his fur, his legs and tail and the light. Bo and I made two more visits to show her the painting all done and then deliver the framed piece. It's now hung in its home and everyone is happy. It's nothing but joy to translate the essence of beloved pets with pigment. I feel privileged to be able to do so.
22"x34" - January 2012 - Beverley Terry
Bessie and Golda
My first pet commission. Bessie and Golda live with their mom in San Rafael. Their mom had seen the painting I'd done of our dog Bud and asked me if I'd paint her Lab and wiry-hair Dachschund. Sure! I said. A new challenge. It was interesting painting someone else's dogs; even though I work from a photo that has all the features I need to render, the spirit of the dogs needs to come through too - and I don't know these dogs like I did Bud. It was fun standing at her front door, painting in hand, and to hear the barks of the two dogs I'd been "with" for many weeks. Of course they were oblivious to the painting - it doesn't smell very interesting. I'm grateful their mom appreciated it and I'm so very honored to have been asked to capture her pups for posterity.
22"x41" - January-February 2010 - Louise Harrison
Bessie and GoldaPets
As I saw this image in the digital camera viewer, I thought "that's a painting!" Bo, our labrador (who at the time I've painted this is two) was about 12 weeks old. We were playing with my nieces on the big lawn out at my folks. Even as a little waggly, curious puppy, he already had this way of making intense eye contact. I see right into his little doggy soul in this image. I look at this and I am just so sure that this is BJ's spirit - he came back to us and is just so happy! There's no way to prove or disprove this and believing it makes me so happy too. This painting is intimate, so it seemed odd to make it really large. It's just a quarter sheet. I framed it with a lot of mat around it bringing the eye right into his eyes. Painting eyes (so far I've just painted dog eyes...) is quite amazing to me. I paint what I see in the reference photo. At first it's pieces and parts, but softening edges and responding to the niggling that tells me something isn't just right and there it is, they are no longer painted on, they are real. The incredible mystery of art.
11"x15" - June 2012 - My Private Collection
BJ First Tahoe Swim
BJ was our 5 1/2 year old dog who we lost to an awful accident in April this year. I had drawn this painting a couple of weeks before he died. While I was drawing it, I had the thought that it would be interesting to paint it while he was alive, as I had painted our previous dog, Bud, after he'd died. I'm grateful for the innocence we have in the present, not knowing what will come in the future. It was a good and challenging process to make this painting. I vacillated between the craft of painting shapes and colors to realizing that I was painting my sweet puppy dog who was no longer here - at least on the physical plane - and I'd stop to cry and cry. This photo was taken when he was only about a year and a half old. We were on our first trip to Tahoe with him. This is a spot on the west side of the lake we've dubbed "Rib Eye Point." It's a cove with barbeque pits nearby. We've had evening dinners there with family-friends the Newmans and the Torresan family. It's fitting that this is where BJ first touched Tahoe water, because this is the same cove where Bud took his last swim in Tahoe. We love our dogs. We miss BJ - terribly - and when the time is right another lab will join our lives.
30"x22" - May 2010 - I would consider selling the original - contact me if you are interested
BJ First Tahoe SwimPets
Bud the Dog
Bud was my husband Joe's dog. He got him as a puppy. Bud was nine years when we met - he was the first dog in my life. This photo was taken when he was about twelve. We were on our regular walk up the hill near our home in Petaluma on a blazingly bright March morning. Just a few weeks later Bud developed arthritis and diabetes, making his world much smaller - no more walks up the hill. When I see this painting, I remember that time as his last good spring. This painting daunted me, I'd never painted anything but plants before. I did the whole background and then stopped for a long time. I picked it up and began painting his back and was very dissatisfied with what was happening. I abandoned it for too long to finish before he died at 14 and a half. I picked it up again while I was on a seven-day silent creativity retreat where I gave myself permission to just ruin it. I went to the painting each day, (silently) talked to my dog's spirit and brought him back through.
30"x22" - April 2005 - Tom Holden
Bud the DogPets
Ginger and Snoopy
Ginger and Snoopy were the beloved pet-kids of my good friends Pamela and Gerry. Pamela has been one of the biggest supporters and fans of the artwork coming through me. Part of this was asking me to paint their dachsies for Gerry - and for both of them to rememeber Snoopy and Ginger since they've gone. They now have Ziggy and Fritz terroizing the lower elevations of their house, but Snoopy and Ginger are still there in spirit... and in their portraits.