With just the littlest flap of a beautiful wing, or thoughtful action you could change the world. My new pup Oliver, "Ollie" for short is an example in the making. His arrival in our household was born out of grief and sadness, the loss of our nearly 16-year-old Border Terrier, Molly. Fortunately, I'd kept contact with a breeder/groomer for the duration of Molly's life. When I was in the midst of decision making, Mary Ellen was there for us. When I asked about a new little pup, she revealed she might just be having a litter in her kennel, Thistlepatch, in mid-June. What does this have to do with art? Well, if you have ever lost a pet, you know the sense of grief is real. No painting was happening in my studio during the first few weeks after Molly went over the rainbow bridge. Not until Mary Ellen told me Lexi was pregnant for sure was I able to show up at the easel.
Guess what was popping out? Yep, puppies! "They're Off!" happened first. Once Lexi had her little ones (three), and we went to see them at ten days, I painted "Lexi's First Litter." I didn't know it then, but my little guy was front and center. We traveled west as we do each summer and had an excellent hiking season. We saw nine grizzly bears, three moose, five bighorn sheep, three mountain goats, a ptarmigan with four chicks and a wolverine!! The last two critters were a first for me! All these sightings made a bumper wildlife spotting season before returning to pick up our nine weeks old Ollie! Since painting animals is my favorite subject, I feel inspired above and beyond. Ollie is like icing on the cake or iridescence on the wings!
"Lexi's First Litter" 20" X 16"
Mary Ellen is a fantastic breeder using modern research and the latest practices to prepare her puppies for life. From a few hours old she handled them and did exercises to help them adapt to whatever life might throw at them. Ollie is well on his way to being housebroken, very food oriented, easy to train and used to his kennel, a little collar and even a leash. He is curious and darn cute if I do say so! So, here is the butterfly effect again; when Ollie goes with me for socialization to Merrifield Garden Center, Barns, and Noble, Plaza Art Supply, Pearmund Cellars Winery or Home Goods, hearts melt, and the puppy is a magnet. Oliver doesn't bark or whine, he lets kids pet him. The puppy doesn't reject gloves, hats, beards or blue hair! In other words, he is a little Olive Branch, living up to his name!
With several shows on my calendar I needed to get busy but the pet portraits continue to heal my grief. Next up was my brother's pup, a rescue I met as we headed west. Emmy is quite the character and it was fun to capture her. I wanted to add her snaggletooth, but my nephew said, "please no."
One of the pieces on the easel right now is "Oliver" 20" X 20". He has incredible markings, I want to capture him as he grows! He is content for stretches of time in his colorful playpen with all his toys! Life is good!