Thursday, February 23, 2017

A painting of Easi.....Multi BIS, BISS Am/Can Ch Ashton Peaceful Easy Feeling

This is a painting of Easi.   Her owners tragically lost her a few weeks ago.   The painting was being finished at that time.    When they received the painting today - and opened it - I think it was like getting a little piece of her back.   That is how I feel when I look at the paintings I've done of my pets that are passed.   Having their painting allows me to feel I have a piece of them here in my home - something special in which to pay tribute to them.

Her owners gave me permission to use the information they had about her on their website - here is what is posted under a beautiful photo of her:

Multi BIS, BISS Am/Can Ch Ashton Peaceful Easy Feeling
(Am/Can Ch Mijean's I Fooled Ya X Ch Pin Oak's Secret-Lee Ashton)

"Easi, and that totally depicts her, is our Homebred Star. Finishing her AKC, and Canadian Champion title just months before she won the Irish Setter Club of America National Specialty in 2008 , then only to follow the next year by winning Best of Breed at Westminster "The Garden" in New York City. All of this before she was 4 years old. Throughout her career extending  2 years, always piloted by Jennifer Holmberg Baggenstos, Easi garnered 50 + Group Firsts, Numerous Best In Specialty Breed Awards and Five All Breed Best In Shows."

http://www.dawnsecord.com

In 2008 I was at the Irish Setter National Specialty where Easi had gone Best of Breed.  It was an exciting show - and personally an emotionally exhausting show.  It was there I'd retired my special girl Jewel.  She was in the show and made it to the final round as a veteran.   I remember walking towards the ring after the show (like usual, I'd left my brush or something at the ring and I was on my way to retrieve it).   My path was on a course to intersect with Janet who was walking my way.   When I was about to pass her I saw she was crying - her face was flushed.   Stopping and filled with compassion towards this woman who was having something very emotional going on I asked her, "Are you okay?"   She wiped her tears and with a huge smile told me she was okay, that it was her girl that won.   I congratulated on her.  I'd been in the ring with Easi.  She was breathtaking.

Now, years later, I was honored by being asked to paint her.   You know they always say good things come around.    This has been a full circle for me.  Being able to share in the glory of this dog and then being able to paint her.    Thank you Janet for having me paint your special girl as a surprise for Gary. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

This is a painting of Jade - an Australian Cattledog

This painting of Jade was recently finished.   Her family saw my art a few years a go and spoke to me about painting her.  They put down a deposit and a place on my waiting list.

We made arrangements for the painting and then life got in the way.   They would contact me, then I would contact them.    They sent me a number of photos of her a few months ago.    I finally was able to "see" Jade.  Until the photos arrived, I simply knew I was painting an Australian Cattle Dog named Jade.

http://www.Dawnsecord.com


When I saw her photos my heart jumped.  She was not only lovely, but you could see in her eyes that she loved her family.   There was "that look" that I could see in the photos - the look that she was lovingly looking into the eyes of the person taking the photo.  It was time to get to work.  It was their time on the waiting list and I had a beautiful girl to paint.

Thank you to her family for having me paint your special girl, Jade.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Painting in process

My work is in a show this April.  The theme of the show is California Images.

This is an oil - subject is an egret.   There is an under painting solely of burnt sienna.  Most of the background will be completed with a palette knife.

Having fun~

Monday, January 23, 2017

Pembroke Welsh Corgi painting is completed

This was such a cool painting.   The dog featured, Annie, is no longer with her family.  So, this was a very special painting for them.   It sounds like Annie had a nice long life.   For those of us who are animal lovers, no matter how long an animal is with us - it is never long enough.
http://www.dawnsecord.com


They were going to be in Palm Springs traveling in from Arizona.  We planned for me to have the painting finished by the end of the show so they could take it with them.

Due to my waiting list, I only have a booth at a show twice a year.   It is always fun to paint in public and talk to people.   Such a huge and welcome change from sitting at home and painting alone.   While I LOVE to paint at home, it is a nice change to get out in public sometimes.

Thank you to Denisa for having me paint her special girl.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Enya - painting of a Shar-Pei

This is Enya.  Some dear friends of her owners commissioned me to paint her as a Christmas gift.

The painting has been received so it is okay for me to share the painting.
http://www.dawnsecord.com


The photo used for the primary pose was a bit hazy.  I'm guessing the photo was taken using a cell phone.  Cell phones with cameras are our best friends at times.  They can help us catch those special moments that would otherwise be lost if we had to run and get the real cameras.  It was clear that the color of Enya was off in the photo.  Thankfully, other reference photos were supplied so true values of her coat, eye and nose color were available for the painting.

Enya had a special window installed for her to view out of the house.   The parties giving the gift had asked if we could incorporate "her window" into the painting.  Of course we could!

To make the painting not too busy or confusing, the bed Enya was laying on had to be eliminated.   When all said was said and done, it worked.  Enya, our main subject was not overpowered by an overly done background and she remained our primary focal point.

It is always such an honor to be commissioned to paint for another party.  Sometimes I just want to say "pinch me".   How can I have such an awesome job?   It sure would have been wonderful to meet Enya.   She passed away last year.   I hope this painting gives her family a little piece of her to keep closely tucked in their hearts.

http://www.dawnsecord.com/InTheNews.html

http://www.dawnsecord.com/commissioninformation.html

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

So excited to share that my work is on the cover of JAVMA - Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

They contacted me earlier this year to inquire about using one of my paintings on the cover of the January 1, 2017 issue.

What a great way to start the new year!  Thank you AVMA!

Happy New Year to all!
http://www.dawnsecord.com

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Kerry Blue Terrier - Schmokie

This is Schmokie, a Kerry Blue Terrier.  I'm quite fond of Kerry Blues.   I actually have a family history with the breed.

My maternal grandparents (Nana & Bapoo) bred and showed them.   My grandmother was the groomer and my grandfather was the exhibitor.    According to my mother, my grandmother was too bashful to run around the ring.  I was too young to remember them showing any dogs, but I do remember the dog "lingo".   I remember like it was yesterday my grandmother calling her dog a B****.   In my young mind, I couldn't believe my Nana was swearing and getting away with it.  No, neither Mom or Bapoo said anything about washing HER
http://www.dawnsecord.com
mouth out with soap.  Could never figure that one out - fond memories for sure.  I still have one of Nana's slicker brushes.   They don't make brushes like they used to!

The painting of Schmokie is a mini 6 x 6 painting and is the result of a Christmas gift.   I LOVE doing surprise paintings.   Such a thrill to be part of that magic - the gift of giving.

When it was time to paint Schmokie, a number of reference photos were supplied.   It was had to choose - he was such an attractive dog.   His owner and I agreed on a given photo.   About a month later, with fresh eyes, I revisited the photos.   The one used jumped out at me.   There was something about the direct eye contact that was captivating.  So, an email was sent to his owner asking her to revisit the photos and give this one consideration.  She agreed and we had a new reference photo.

Thank you to everyone involved.   It was a joy to create this painting!

http://www.dawnsecord.com/commissioninformation.html

Monday, October 31, 2016

Portrait of 5 Ibizan Hounds

This was an exciting painting to create.   Many of the dogs featured in this painting are no longer with us.  There were limited photos of those dogs and a great deal of research was involved to assist me where the photos could not.

http://www.dawnsecord.com

I studied photos of Ibizans to make sure the features I was going to add to the photos was indeed consistent in the breed.  Questions I asked myself were - what is to be expected on bone structure, nose shape, ear shape, eye shape and muzzle width for the Ibizan Hound?   The photo of Rio, in the middle, was ideal.  A few of the photos were fine.   A few of the photos were small and hazy.   With the white on the faces, it could be easy to paint the muzzle too wide or too narrow.  A little homework only makes the student stronger.  (My motto is that I am always learning - always the student in all that I do.)

The dog in the lower left corner, Annie, was laying down in the reference photo.   It was a challenging pose for the painting.  What to do?  Well, I have big dogs and I know what big dogs do.   Big dogs lay their heads on the table and beg for food when you are eating....well, they do if you let them around the table while you are eating.   That was the perfect solution.  I'd have Annie standing with her head laying on a table.   Easy - well, hopefully it would work out and be easy.   Sometimes I have these ideas to put into a painting and one thing changes one thing that changes another thing and before I know it the "easy" wasn't easy.

The layout of the dogs was also a bit challenging like putting together a puzzle.  How could I arrange them to make them into a complimentary composition.   Rio was to be in the middle of the painting, that was requested.  How I arranged the others was left to my judgement.

Long story short, with a goal of no one's ears being in anyone else's face, it worked out.   The important factor was to have the subjects' faces as large as possible and fit in all those ears in a flattering arrangement.

Hope you enjoy viewing the painting as much as I enjoyed painting it.   Thank you to Julie for entrusting me with such a large and important project.


Following is one of the proposed compositions for the painting.  It was not the final placement as seen above.  Also, we used a more recent photo of Rio in the middle - featured below the composition.  Such an enjoyable project!!
http://www.dawnsecord.com/commissioninformation.html
http://www.dawnsecord.com/inthenews.html

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sir Finn - A portrait of an Irish Setter

This was such a fun painting to do - well - I feel like a broken record saying this, but I never tire of painting people's animals for them.   It just touches my heart.

http://www.dawnsecord.com


This is Finn.   His owner wanted a standing painting of him from the very beginning.  In the primary reference photo he was pulling down on his tail a bit.  I had to laugh when she asked me to fix the tail (and she did have a great photo of his top line and tail as another reference photo).  So, the reason I had to laugh - my dogs all pull down on their tail when I am showing them if I grab the tip of their tail.    I've never trained them to hold their tail out by holding the tip of it.  If I try to pull on the tip of their tail, the tuck their hiney down and it is laughable.  I had a judge pull Jewel's tail once and Jewel fiercly tried to wag it out of the judge's grasp.   No, we didn't win, but the judge did laugh at Jewel's antics.   Finn has a lovely top line and tail set.   We most certainly did need to show that in the painting!

Sir Finn is my very special heart boy.  In this painting he was just 2 years old.  He is now 3 and has earned 6 titles.  His  reg. name is CH Captiva One Last Time BN,RN,RA,THDN, CGC.   Sir Finn Excels at his therapy work and has a real bond with Alzheimer patients.  He was with my mom when she passed away last year and it was so very amazing how gentle he was with her and is with other patients.  He wants to please me with everything he has within himself, whether it be obedience or just cuddling.  He is a true gentlemen.  In agility classes, he listens and stay with me but is now getting too fast for me so we will see what this brings.  He has a heart of pure gold and is so very calm .  Even the day we brought him home from Canada,  he, a 10 week old puppy, calmed my very sick Irish, Liam!  Sir Finn has never found a person or critter he has not liked no matter what they do or say.  There will never be another Finn.  I do thank Dawn Secord for capturing him so amazingly and in a few more year hope to have a head portrait of him.

Thank you Rita for having me paint your beautiful boy!

http://www.dawnsecord.com/commissioninformation.html


Sir Finn - A portrait of an Irish Setter

This was such a fun painting to do - well - I feel like a broken record saying this, but I never tire of painting people's animals for them.   It just touches my heart.

http://www.dawnsecord.com


This is Finn.   His owner wanted a standing painting of him from the very beginning.  In the primary reference photo he was pulling down on his tail a bit.  I had to laugh when she asked me to fix the tail (and she did have a great photo of his top line and tail as another reference photo).  So, the reason I had to laugh - my dogs all pull down on their tail when I am showing them if I grab the tip of their tail.    I've never trained them to hold their tail out by holding the tip of it.  If I try to pull on the tip of their tail, the tuck their hiney down and it is laughable.  I had a judge pull Jewel's tail once and Jewel fiercly tried to wag it out of the judge's grasp.   No, we didn't win, but the judge did laugh at Jewel's antics.   Finn has a lovely top line and tail set.   We most certainly did need to show that in the painting!

Sir Finn is my very special heart boy.  In this painting he was just 2 years old.  He is now 3 and has earned 6 titles.  His  reg. name is CH Captiva One Last Time BN,RN,RA,THDN, CGC.   Sir Finn Excels at his therapy work and has a real bond with Alzheimer patients.  He was with my mom when she passed away last year and it was so very amazing how gentle he was with her and is with other patients.  He wants to please me with everything he has within himself, whether it be obedience or just cuddling.  He is a true gentlemen.  In agility classes, he listens and stay with me but is now getting too fast for me so we will see what this brings.  He has a heart of pure gold and is so very calm .  Even the day we brought him home from Canada,  he, a 10 week old puppy, calmed my very sick Irish, Liam!  Sir Finn has never found a person or critter he has not liked no matter what they do or say.  There will never be another Finn.  I do thank Dawn Secord for capturing him so amazingly and in a few more year hope to have a head portrait of him.

Thank you Rita for having me paint your beautiful boy!

http://www.dawnsecord.com/commissioninformation.html


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Kristopher - original painting

I have had the pleasure of seeing Kristopher in the ring and out of the ring for a number of years now.   He is a lovely dog with a kind heart.

When his owner approached me to ask me to paint him, I was thrilled.  I love painting.   It is always an honor to paint for someone. 

www.dawnsecord.com


So, we took some photos and then came the tough job of picking which photos best reflected the true Kristopher.  Below are the reference photos.   The head study photo I took.  The movement shot was done by the official show photographer (who was quite kind and permitted me to use her photo for this painting.)   Thank you to Dale for trusting me with her boy.

Here is what Kristopher's owner told me about him:

Kristopher is a once in a lifetime dog.. He has accomplished so much more than I had ever
hoped for. The thrill of winning the breed at Westminster was overwhelming.  He has continued his winning ways by taking back to back specialties in Seattle this past weekend and on to a group 2 at the all breed show on Sunday.  He now has 12 Specialty wins and has won it 5 times in Seattle.  
He also has 3 champion offspring and 6 more are pointed.  His youngest boy took a 5 point major in Seattle at 15 months at only his 3rd show. He is aging well and looks so distinquished with his graying muzzle.  I am so very proud of this dog.. I co-bred this litter with Ginny Swanson and it is a miracle that he is even here. When the litter was 7 weeks old they contracted parvo.  Kristopher was one of the sickest, the vet did not expect him to make it but he had a tremendous will to live and look at him now. In fact the whole litter survived to the amazement of the vet.  He is a Silver Grand Champion and close to getting his gold.  That will be a nice end to his career.
http://www.dawnsecord.com/commissioninformation.html
http://www.dawnsecord.com/PrintsForSale.html

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A painting of Guinness for Celeste

A dear friend, Celeste, has been so patiently waiting for the painting of her beloved horse, Guinness.   He had been a member of her family for many years. 

http://www.dawnsecord.com


When the painting was in process, Celeste shared this with me about Guinness (she was mentioning the person who owned him prior to her):

I bought him when he was nine.   He had been on a friend's farm from a youngster, trained and shown by her.  So, she knew him well.  That is probably why he was so hot and forward as that was they way she liked her horses.  He was an exciting ride and the kindest horse I ever knew on the ground.

People who own horses understand they are like a big dog.  They know who you are and love you.  When I was growing up in Texas, I had a friend who had gotten a working horse from a cattle ranch.  The horse's owner passed away out on the range and the horse stayed with him until someone came and found them.

The bond between a horse and owner can be as close as with any other animal.   

http://www.dawnsecord.com/commissioninformation.html

The reference photo is shown above.  This photo was taken before our wonderful digital cameras and was a 3" x 5" photo.   Guinness had gotten into the house.    No surprise there (he sounds like he was quite the character)!  My challenges were to overcome the lighting caused by the flash and to see his bone structure hidden  under his halter.    It all came together and I can't wait for Celeste to see the painting in person!

Thank you Celeste for having me paint your special boy! 

Dog Days of Summer

It was great fun judging this art show.   The finalists have now been identified so it is safe to post them.  Thank you to the Brandon Gallery for having me judge your show.

The opening reception will be this Saturday, August 6, 2016 from 5 pm - 7 pm.   I am very much looking forward to meeting the artists.  Hope to see you there!

Brandon Gallery, Fallbrook, CA

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Dog Days of Summer

I had the honor today of judging the artwork submitted for "Dog Days of Summer" at the Brandon Gallery.  The show included animal art that not only included dogs, but cats, and a few chickens!


When arriving at the gallery, the amount of artwork that had been submitted was shocking.   When driving to the gallery I thought, the pieces will just jump out at me like at the dog show.  Sometimes that dog enters the ring and you just can't take your eyes off of it.  Well, I felt like I had a ring full of blue ribbons once I started looking at the work.

The artwork was lined against almost every wall and then several deep on the floor along the walls.   Holy Smokes!!    I walked through all the art several times just enjoying the pieces.   My goal wasn't to try and pick the placements at first sight, I just simply wanted to take in all the work.   There were 2 dimensional pieces, 3 dimensional pieces, photographs, and one very unique multi-media piece.  There was work that was traditional, some whimsical, some very modern and from all mediums.   WOW - the body of work was awesome and all from local artists.  UNBELIEVABLE!

I don't want to give away what happened next as choices were made and why.  Nor can I show what pieces won.   On August 6th I'll be at the gallery to meet the artists and discuss my choices.   I can't wait.    All I can say is WOW - some really amazing work.  I loved my Best in Show.  Gosh, I loved all the placements.   So often I hear a dog judge say to me when I exit the ring, on any given day - any of these fine dogs could have been the winner.   Those thoughts circled in my mind as I looked at all the art before me.    So many winners and I could only pick one.

Thank you to the Brandon Gallery for trusting in me to judge the work.  It was truly my honor!







http://www.dawnsecord.com

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A painting of Alec

What a fun painting!   After taking photos of Alec for this painting, his owner kept going back to two photos she was having trouble deciding between.   So, we did the obvious - painted both.  
http://www.dawnsecord.com

It truly was difficult to choose the best reference photos for this painting.  Alec is so photogenic.  

When we decided to use both photos, I wanted to really set the laying down photo away from the head study so I played around with the bottom of the painting.  Finally, layering some middle value ultramarine blues did the trick.   The fun thing about pastels is that there are so many different techniques that an artist can employ without having to wait for the paint to dry.

Here is a little background on Alec from his loving owner:

BISS GCh./Can. Ch Courtwood Going My Way. 
Alec received his name on they way home from Sue Hahnen's home when he was a puppy.  My son and I talked about all kinds of names and my son said he sure looks like a smart aleck of a puppy; the name fit perfectly.  He became my smart "Alec" and the keeper of my heart. 
Sandra Kraft
 
Thank you to Sandra for having me paint her special boy and to her dear friend, LeeAnn, who was the mastermind behind our project.
http://www.dawnsecord.com/commissioninformation.html