This is truly a beautiful time of year with all the flowers blooming, the hills greening up and the beautiful crisp mornings. If I could find a place that had only spring and fall seasons I would be in heaven. But I can’t seem to find a region like this on the map – bummer. Oh well, I am thankful for what I have.
To kick off this spring I want to announce a new painting to you and spend a little time to let you know a bit about how this painting came to be.
Announcing: Homeward Bound, 36x36, oil on canvas.
Homeward Bound is the third painting in my Pointer Series of works. Pointer as is German Short Haired Pointer – a breed of dog that is known for hunting. My pointer only hunts lizards and gophers though – nothing too exciting.
This series of dog paintings came to me in a roundabout way a couple of years ago. Lucy, my short haired pointer, has only been around for a year now. Before her, I had a large mutt named Mable. Mable was a good girl. She went everywhere with me. She went on multi day hikes with me and on short jaunts to the store. When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. She was my bud. My wife picked her up as a puppy in front of the local food market and brought her home to me. I knew instantly she was special. She’d run around and trip over her big ol’ feet, topple head over heels and land on her butt. She’d sit there all confused for about three seconds then she’d get right back up, chase something else and topple again. I loved her.
I say loved because after 14 years she finally passed away. It was hard to see her go. I remember my mom telling me a couple years before Mable died, “You should paint her because she won’t be around forever and you’re going to miss her.” I attempted to paint her a few times but it just made me sad. I wanted to remember her running through the woods, not old and lethargic. Do I regret not doing the paintings? Nope. I have so many memories of her that keep me company that there is no need for paintings. I’ll probably regret it more as I get older and my memory fades but that’s just something I’ll have to come to terms with.
Lucy came to me a few months after Mable pass away. I was thinking about getting a studio cat so I went to the local animal shelter. I walked in and there she was. She was brought in that morning and was still all dirty and shaking from fear. I got placed first on the waiting list and had to go through a couple weeks of the shelter doing their best to find the original owner. They actually did find the owner but they wouldn't come down and pay the $15 to pick her up. How crazy is that? In the end, I took her home.
She was a handful at first and she wanted to run off sooooo bad, but I gave her a warm bed, good food and lots of love. She spends most her time with me off leash now roaming about near my side. I think she and Mable would have made awesome sisters.
In the studio, I had sketched Lucy a couple of times and the spark for future paintings was just forming when I got a call from The Vendue and Robert Lange Studios (Link both names) inviting me to paint a picture for their upcoming show Cats vs Dogs. It was a show to help raise awareness and money for rescuing animals in South Carolina. Of course, I said, “Absolutely, yes!” and to please put me down as a dog person (they wanted an equal mix of dog and cat personalities seen in the works). I painted “Seek and Ye Shall Find” for this show. The painting was about the adventures ahead of us all and with a faithful companion of a dog, these adventures are always better. For me this painting signified a new adventure in a group of paintings along with my new studio companion, Lucy. The painting sold opening day. Yea! Whoop whoop!
Since the show was scheduled to be up for a few months they made arrangements with the new owners to keep it up for a month and in the meantime asked me to paint another one. ‘Absolutely, yes!” was my answer again. I chose to paint “The Introduction” for my second painting. Here the two characters (boy and dog) are out seeking but have come across a message in a bottle which will of course lead them on to another adventure. The painting is about adventure, companionship, and the unknown twists that await us all. For me this painting represented the confirmation from all (gallery-ists, collectors, social media followers) that what I had made was acceptable and worthy of chasing. This painting is me finding this out and chasing it.
The Introduction sold on closing day. Another Yea! And whoop whoop!
Before The Introduction sold though I was already starting my next painting Homeward Bound. This painting has a lot of layers of meaning for me. The boats name translates into north wind or wind from the north. The pups are sailing into the wind hence they are traveling north. Whenever I travel north I always feel as if I am going back home. I’ve lived down in southern California for 25 years now, but deep down inside I feel like I belong in the Pacific Northwest. That’s my home. I love the overcasts days, the need to bundle up in a warm scarf, and the spray of rain or mist on my face. Are you seeing the relationship to the painting? If you look close I give reference to the small dog as being Lucy. The big dog is Mable in spirit (remember I said I thought they would make awesome sisters). The dogs personalities are represented with Mable and Lucy in mind, one older and stoic and the young one fearless and attentive. But you know what? I see a lot of Mable in that young pup too.
I better get going before I start man-crying all over the keyboard.
Have a good Sunday and thanks for being a shoulder to cry on. I hope you have enjoyed the paintings.
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