Monday, February 23, 2015

Book Reading at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show - February 17, 2015

We had a wonderful opportunity to have a book reading of our book Show Dogs Escape to the Seashore (authored by Marsha Hall Brown and illustrated by me) while attending the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City on February 17, 2015.

The film crew had seated us on a sofa, surrounded by children, while the breed showing was being conducted.   One of the organizers handed me a black Labrador retriever to hold during the reading.  The lab was so well behaved.  There is no wonder why the labs are such a popular breed!  The children were very focused on Marsha while she was reading to them. 

Marsha turned to "The Great Escape" illustration and asked the children how many dogs were in the illustration.   There was a young boy named Travis who was just adorable.  The children were focusing on the dogs in the illustration

and they all thought there were 7.  Then Travis proclaimed, "WAIT A MOMENT....I believe there are 8" as he pointed to the hidden puppy who was peeking out of a suitcase!   Good job Travis!

Without question, this was one of the highlights of the trip.   Thank you to the organizers for inviting us to do a book reading.  It was great fun!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Painting of Ozzy

This painting was recently finished of an Irish Setter named Ozzie.
Ozzy lives on the other side of the Country and I'd been told by a friend that they were grooming this gorgeous dog named Ozzy.   About a year later, Ozzy's owner came to me and wanted me to paint his portrait.   We all knew we wanted to get some great reference material for the painting.   Ozzy's breeder was taking him to a hunt test and had a great opportunity to take some photos in outside lighting.  After some discussions on position and lighting, some really awesome photos were sent my way.  To my delight, there were several great candidates from which to choose.  For the background, the owner wanted some scene that was what one would see out in the field.   In one of the reference photos, there were some light golden tans and subtle sages that reflected fall foliage.   Those were the perfect colors to use behind a dark mahogany dog.   So, I had my background!

I've asked Ozzy's owner to give me a brief story about him and this is what she shared -

  • I discovered Oz when I approached a local breeder looking for a puppy. Knowing I liked big males, she suggested I take Ozzy (as she calls him) home for trial. It was love at first sight but I couldn't adopt the youngster (3 yrs) till I put in a fence! The transition from show kennel to pet wasn't difficult although Oz skidded on my hardwood floors and barked at potted plants. He quickly abandoned his crate for the comfort of a custom-made bed. Then he went to obedience school to become a Canine Good Citizen. After solving the 'crime' at Canine Crime Investigation" camp, the trainer said the boy had a great nose. So last year he went back to the quail fields of his puppy-dom and easily won Jr. Hunt title. Then he started Barn Hunt and despite being 33 in tall excelled in hunting rats and bellying through tunnels. Now he's back working towards his Advanced Jr. Hunt.   He's the happiest when outside whether  field hunting, barn hunting, walking Belt-line trails or relaxing on his pipe bed.
A big thank you to Ozzy's mom for having me paint his portrait.   I feel like I know him and look forward to giving him a big hug when I get to meet him in person~

Monday, February 16, 2015

At the Garden

Gosh...surreal to be here and see everything in person.  What a treat.

Westminster Kennel Club dog show

Here at the show.  So excited.  Gorgeous dogs everywhere.

Running into friends from all over the Country.  Great fun!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dog Writers Association of America award winning illustration!

The Dog Writers Association of America annual awards banquet was this evening. My illustration for the cover of the children's book, Show Dogs Escape to the Sea Shore, written by Marsha Hall Brown, won Best Single illustration. I was awarded the Maxwell Award for this winning illustration. We are so excited! Great way to celebrate and New York City,!!

Barkfest at Bonhams in New York

Saturday, February 14, 2015

We are here!! New York.

Its snowing here in New York City

We are looking forward to an exciting few days.  Meeting up with Marsha and Bob for dinner.  

Our house guest couldn't tell Bling and Faith apart ( no surprise there ) so I painted Bling like I did when she was a pup.  She has a big  yellow spot of paint on her hiney.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

"My Treasures" Limited Edition Print on Canvas

"My Treasures" limited edition print on canvas
Limited Edition Print on Canvas
Photos of painting in process.   

Close up - one of the pups

This is my new print.   I thought I'd step out of the box from what people were used to seeing and do an oil painting that was unexpected.  

One of my favorite things to do is paint with a palette knife.  Painting with a palette knife was something I did frequently when I was younger.  Actually, it was uncommon for me to use a brush.   The exciting thing about a palette knife is that there is not the control I have with a brush.   Palette knives are rigid and can easily swipe the paint off a canvas as easily as they can lay it on.   Paint can be laid on thick and dimensional shapes are left in the wake.   I used to be up until all hours; an Irish Setter by my side.   A huge canvas would sit in front of me with an array of palette knives at my fingertips.   The bigger the canvas the better.   Once finished, I'd give the painting to the first person who enjoyed it.   Then 'd go out, purchase a new blank canvas and start all over again. 

When thinking about what I'd like to create to be released at the 2015 ISCA National, old recessed memories about the palette knife and a large painting suddenly were vivid.  I knew how I wanted to paint it, just not what I would paint.  Then it came to me, a mom and pups.   We all love to see little babies with their mom.   Going through my reference photos I came across a photo with the mom looking tenderly down at her babies.  There were five or six photos used for image reference to get the nursing pups in the places that were perfect for my purposes.   I didn't want the pups to jump out at you, I wanted them to be hidden in the coat of their mother.  When Rich and I had the litter two years ago, we were always trying to find the pups which were curled around Monet.  The pups blended in so easily.  So, in the painting, the pups are intertwined with their mother in natural poses.  Can you count how many there are?  If it takes you a moment, my goal was successful.  Though there won't be panic when you can't find one!  

The background was done using the oil paint as a wash after the subjects were almost completed.  I took a large paint brush and saturated the canvas with turpenoid, then another paint brush was loaded with paint and glazed over the wet canvas.  The turpenoid slightly dissolved the paint and the paint ran down the canvas.  This was done out in the grass as it was pretty messy.   Once the colors were satisfactory, the painting was left on the porch to dry (the fumes were pretty extreme.) Then I flipped the painting upside down and used this same technique for the sky.  The end result almost looks like a water color painting but it is oil paint.
The painting measures 3 feet x 4 feet.   Sometimes the hardest thing to do is find the perfect name.   My mother thought of the name for this painting.  Her suggestion?  "My Treasures".   Isn't it perfect.   To the mother dog, her babies are her treasures.  To the breeders, all the dogs, mom and pups, are their treasures, to the owners of the pups - the pup certainly becomes their treasure.

The reproductions are going to all be on canvas.   I've done this a few times in the past and love how they turn out.    With the canvas prints, you can frame them with or without glass - your choice.   The 11 x 14 prints are mounted on board.

11 x 14  $75.00
16 x 20  $165.00
20 x 24  $225.00  (artist proofs - to be special orders)
3 feet x 4 feet (artist proofs - to be special orders)

I will be bringing 11 x 14 and 16 x 20 prints to the Irish Setter National as well as one 3 foot by 4 foot to hang as a display.    

The artwork is available for pre-order and is in inventory at this time.   Please contact me by phone, email or click on the below link to purchase directly from my website:

Order by phone:  866-393-7111
Order by email:
Order via website:   

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Monet's first junior hunter pass

We entered Monet in her first hunt test.  She is 8 years old and this has been something that was put on the back burner.  We decided to let her do it before she was any older.

She has always been very confident and very birdy so we had high expectations.  

Her very first time out she gets a pass.

I went out with them to take photos of Rich and Monet out in the field.  They were the last brace of the day.  Can't wait to see the camera's photos when we get home.

Rich handed her off to me to take back to the trailer.  He took this photo with his cell phone.  Kind of cool shot.

Taking photos at the Irish Setter and Vizsla hunt test

the weather is beautiful out here in the desert. People are great and the dogs are gorgeous!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Bling loves road trips!

We are on the way to the ISCSC hunt test.  I told Bling this is a time out weekend.

No grooming for either one of us haha.  No suit or pantyhose for me. No clippers or thinning shears for Bling!

Rich and Monet are entered.   The rest of us are along for the ride.  Monet has no lessons, no training, but can find a bird like nobody's business. So our fingers are crossed and we'll see how she does!

Thanks to Christy for staying at our house with our cat, our chickens, & a feisty little bird

Friday, January 23, 2015


I've known Donovan's owner for a number of years now.   We've actually spent a decent amount of time together when we are at the same dog show.   One thing I've learned about her for sure is that she is passionate about her dogs.

When she first approached me to paint her dogs, it was to be a candid shot of two dogs.    When it came down to picking reference photos, there just weren't two photos of each dog that really complimented each other.   She decided to paint just one dog (for now) and chose Donovan.   I've known Donovan since he was a pup and have watched him mature into a wonderful animal.

I asked her to share some information about Donovan and her relationship with him, and this is their story:

GCH. Kilkenny's One Singular Sensation CD BN CGCA   aka Donovan. Donovan was a singleton (the only puppy in a litter) puppy bred by me.  Hence his name "One Singular Sensation".  This boy has given me so many firsts. My first GCH, my first bred dog that I put obedience titles on,  and several group placements. He far exceeded any expectations I ever had especially since he was an only puppy.  This never could have been accomplished if it was not for his co-owners Jayneann Wikler and Tim Sheridan.  Donovan is the love of my life.  Thank you so much Dawn for capturing his expression perfectly.
It is such a joy to paint people's animals.  I can't imagine tiring of it.   People ask me what I'll do when I retire.   "RETIRE" - really - how does one ever retire from something they love.   Someone will be prying a paint brush or a stick of pastel from my cold hand....then again, if I am found by someone who knows me, they will leave the artist's materials where they find them.
Thank you Lydia for having me paint such a sensational boy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Payne - from puppy to adult

This is Payne - he is an English Cocker Spaniel.  If you've never met this breed, have to tell you, they are just adorable.

My husband I have been fortunate enough to travel with Payne and his family for a number of years.   This painting has been planned for quite some time, but his family was waiting for him to mature so that his painting could show him at different ages.

The photos used for the painting were taken in different lighting scenarios - one with back lighting, several inside with no natural lighting, and one ideal photo taken outside in good lighting.   The challenge was to get all his coloring correct and make all three images balanced in value.

Several times while painting, my mind was playing tricks on me and I'd really have to rework an area.    My mind would say, "If that was dark, and you want it light, then what should we do with the values in the shadows?"    Right brain left brain thing I think.    Our minds do not doubt a photograph.  However, in a painting, if something is off ...lets say anatomically, but that anatomy is what the photo had, the human eye assumes the artist did something incorrectly.  Even if the painting shows just what the photo did.  For that reason, I'm very cautious in what reference photos I use.   There are often changes needed in the painting that are not in the photo.   Or things are left out of the painting that are in the photo.   Just depends on the dog, the photos and the lighting.   Painting from photos can be a lot more complicated than one may think.

Thank you to Payne's family for having me paint your precious boy.   He is like a big stuffed toy - but he gives kisses where a stuffy does not....

Saturday, January 10, 2015


This is Kobe, Multi BISS GCH Jadestar Ride Em' Cowboy.

I've known Kobe for a number of years and have watched him mature into a beautiful dog.  Not only is he lovely on the outside, he is a dream of a dog with a gentle kind heart.

When his owners approached me to paint him, I was thrilled.  We met up at a dog show and I took a number of photos of him.   The photos which were my primary reference photos were taken in the shade.  He'd really been squinting in the sun therefore, we moved him to get some shots of him in a cooler area.   We didn't want him to become too warm and start panting.  

Three photos were used to create this painting.  One was his primary reference pose, another was for his eye shape (where he was fully relaxed and not squinting at all) and lastly a photo taken from him sitting in the direct sun for his coat coloring.

Kobe lives in Arizona.  His people family wanted a southwestern background.   I have a ton of photos in my reference library from all my trips between California and visiting my family in, reference photos of Arizona were plentiful.

Thank you to Kobe's family for having me painting him.   It was a wonderful experience and I'll keep a place in my heart for this wonderful dog!


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Border Terrier Portraits

Several months ago a secret project was completed.  Three individual portraits of three border terriers were painted that were to be given as Christmas presents.   After the paintings were commissioned, the senior dog of the three, Chloe, was unexpectedly lost to illness.   I saved her painting until last to paint.  Chloe held such a special place in Amy's heart, it was very emotional for me to paint her.

It has been so much fun being part of secret Christmas presents.  This year has been a record in creating them for folks. 

Over the past six months paintings have been completed and shipped off to be given to loved ones on this special holiday.

These three paintings were shipped to Amy's mother to keep the paintings out of her home so her husband wouldn't find them.  Thank you to "Mom" for helping Amy keep her surprise.

I'd shipped the paintings a few months ago.  It has been a long wait for Amy to post the paintings on Facebook so that I could in turn post them myself.

Thank you Amy for letting me be part of your Christmas!