The paintings here are commissioned portraits, based on photos I took and meetings with the owners and animals.
Dogs have the expressive faces of great clowns, without putting on an act. Just the roll of an eye and tilt of an eyebrow says so much; their feelings and point of view are all out there. In addition, I just can’t get over paws, grizzled faces, soft and velvety flower-like ears, and so on.
Meetings were fun, and often humorous, since a lot of animals will take the mark and pose in an instant, as though they’ve been listening to phone calls between me and their “owners”. Others slink away, become mournful, and look guilty, or run through the yard, with me chasing after them with camera and cookies in hand.
When I’m asked how I get those wonderful expressions, the answer is usually “food” – having the owner offer the treat, off camera, just the way you see dog handlers in Westminster do. It’s the key to that look of happy, almost spiritual longing! Portrait painting of animals is just incredibly interesting. But after several years, I’d needed to move on. There were other subjects waiting.