Thursday, December 5, 2013

A portrait of Dudley

This is Dudley. He was a rescue that went into his forever home as a senior. His last few years were spent in the most wonderful home with a loving family. It always breaks my heart to know a senior dog needs a home. Fortunately for Dudley, his previous owner was able to place him where they did and did not just have to walk away from him. All dogs deserve at least that.

The reference photo had Dudley laying on a red leather piece of furniture. The red of the furniture took some of the focal point off of the subject (Dudley), so in the painting, the artist liberty was taken to change things a bit. It is important to me not to simply copy a photo, but rather use the photo as a road map to ensure I am capturing that animal specifically.

Thank you to Dudley's family for giving him such a great life in his final years and for choosing me to paint him!
http://www.dawnsecord.com
http://www.dawnsecord.com

Thursday, October 24, 2013

This is a mini painting of Kate. It was done using soft pastel. Most of my pastels are imported from Europe - using only the best materials available! Kate was a wee pup when the reference photo for this painting was taken. As a young pup she had plenty of whiskers. The whiskers are what made the reference photo so endearing to Kate's owner. For the finished painting, it was very important that the whiskers were part of the painting. Hope you like it as much as we do! Thanks for a taking a peek. If you want to see more of my work - please go to my website at http://www.dawnsecord.com

Bling is a year old!

I can't believe our pups are a year old already! Time goes by too quickly. It seems as if the older I become the faster time passes. We've posted photos of all the pups at a year of age on our website. Here is the link if you want to take a peek. http://www.irishsetter.me/Monet-and-Drew-Puppies.html

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Miah and Gates - Irish Setters



This is a portrait of Miah and her pup, Gates. I've known Gates since he was 12 weeks old. It is hard to believe he is all grown up, a finished champion and now a Best in Specialty Show winner. His dam, Miah, is stunning with the softest eyes. Their owners had commissioned a portrait of the two of them 2012. We knew we would all be at the same show and planned accordingly. Gates was with them at the show and we had several opportunities to take photos of him for the painting. They had supplied me with photos of Miah to use as reference material for a non commissioned painting the year prior. The goal was to have the painting almost finished and then work on it at the 2013 Irish Setter Club of America National Specialty. The finished painting could then go home with them. Murphy (as in "Murphy's Law") decided to rain (literally) on our parade...I mean dog show. The weather at the show was lovely at times and not so lovely at other times. Long story short, the painting was finished in the hotel room rather than in my booth as a public demonstration. You know what they say about the best laid plans. The good news was - as my husband and I were driving home to California from Virginia, the portrait was on it's way to Michigan. Thank you to Ken and Debbie for commissioning me to paint your beautiful babies! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Irish Setter Painting - Cady

It is always so wonderful when the owner of the dog in my paintings wants to personally share their story about their pet. Sometimes, it is just too emotional. When I was commissioned to paint Cady, a number of referenced photos were supplied. The photos had Cady as a pup,different fun family photos and then some photos of her shortly before

she was lost. Cady was 7 when she left her family prematurely. That is so incredibly unfair. In discussing Cady's photos with her family, collectively it was decided to use one of those last photos. I thank her family for the honor of painting her and hope the painting keeps Cady close to their hearts. Here is Cady's story: Cady came into my life and heart on June 2, 2001 at the very young age of 7 weeks….it was love at first site. She was just a roly poly of red fur with the biggest paws I had ever seen. I should have known she was going to be a big girl. She sat in my lap all the way home from Easley, South Carolina and thus began our extremely close bond and love. It was obvious from the beginning that Cady was extremely smart and strong willed. In just a few short months I would be so glad to see that strong will. Through Cady’s puppyhood, we spent almost every moment together….she was my shadow from the very beginning to the end. Cady was regal, she was sweet, she had an old soul, and was oh so smart. I mean scary smart. Cady loved everyone she met and everyone loved her. If I told her she couldn’t do something she would look at me and you could see her thinking it through. Cady was definitely stubborn and had a sense of what was fair. If I had to choose one word to describe Cady it would be “love”. When you looked into her beautiful brown eyes, you could see the love Cady had in her huge heart. Sometime during the night of July 24 or early morning of July 25,2008, Cady developed bloat and passed away. What do I miss the most about Cady? Everything! Her beauty, her clown-like personality, her intelligence, her sweetness, her jumping around like a frog playfulness, her Chewbaka talks, her barks, her always being in the way when I was in the kitchen, counter surfing, hogging the couch and bed, her cuddles, her presence…..but most of all her love. Cady was one very special Irish girl who will be loved and missed until our joyful reunion at Rainbow Bridge. Cadybug…..you are my heart…..

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hunting Dogs

The dogs featured here are Rowdy, Speck and Hero.   I had met their owners at a hunt test.   They saw me taking photos of dogs and came over to see what I was doing.   Ultimately, they commissioned me to paint the two dogs with them.   One of the dogs in the painting, Rowdy, had passed some time ago.   I photographed Speck and Hero for the painting.   Rowdy was an American Brittany.  Speck and Hero are French Brittanies.   Looking at the painting, you can see the differences in head shape and muzzle length.   I love watching dogs in the field working and doing the job they were bred to do.





Monday, July 8, 2013

Jesse - Pastel Painting of an Irish Setter


This is Jesse. Sadly, she is no longer with us. Her painting was created from photos that had been taken some years ago. Her owners and I were going to be at the same dog show, so we decided to go over photos together. As I was turning the pages in their small album of snapshots, the page viewing came to an abrupt stop. The photo for the painting was looking back at me. The position of the dog was perfect and the lighting was strong. The background was not so ideal, but that would be an easy change!




The reference photo is simply a road map to keep my on track to capturing the essence of a specific subject As an artist, I must know when to reduce or increase highlights and shadows. Quite a lot of that happened with this painting. The photo's strong lightening was much too bright and needed to be subdued. The eyes were too shadowed and needed added highlights.



Jesse use to live in the Pacific Northwest. Years ago, when traveling in that area, I'd taken "rolls" film (is that dating my travels or what!). Therefore, I had perfect reference material for the painting. At the completion of the painting, we were all thrilled. Jesse's painting is absolutely Jesse.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tate the English Setter

This is “Tate” I met him in Northern California and was smitten with him immediately. He had a wonderful personality and what a beautiful dog he is. When I was taking photos of him for his painting, he posed like he was a pro (oh…I think he is! :) He is a silver level GCH. and Canadian Championship. His registered name is GCH & Canadian CH Legends Love Potion No. Nine.


I am told his owner (human daddy), Fred, had nick named Tate "Tater Tot" because when he arrived from Washington (state) to his new home, his coloration looked so much like the potato dish and he was so....cute! He is a joy to his family every day and I can see why.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Bling - 1st Place in Puppy Sporting Group



"Bling" Rendition Treasure Every Minute is such a pistol.   It has been fun watching her grow.  It is difficult to conceive that she is seven months old now.   The saying, "Time flies by" is so appropriate.

Watching her transition from a newborn into a juvenile (delinquent at times) is bittersweet.   I fear tomorrow will suddenly show her with a white face and the stiffer gait that our older dogs develop.    Tomorrow is years away, but is it not amazing how quickly it comes.

Rich and I love this pup and will treasure every minute with her.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Irish Setter Painting - Agility

This is a very special painting.   There is just something that really tugs at my heart when I see an Irish Setter in motion.

Agility is such a challenging sport.   It is wonderful to watch as the dog and owner work as a team.   When the Irish Setters run, I can't take my eyes off them.   The beautiful red coat is waving back and forth almost like a flag waving in the breeze.   Following the agility course and the training takes extensive time and team work.  

This painting features Nikki.   Nikki is not only an agility dog, but a conformation champion as well.   She won the Veteran Class at the 2011 Irish Setter Club of America and an Award of Merit.    The only time Nikki showed less than a charge ahead attitude was when her owner entered her in an obedience class.  From what her owner told me, sounds like that was just too boring for such an animated girl!!   She did what was asked of her.  However, she let those around her know it was not her cup of tea!  :)

In the primary reference photo for this painting, there were a lot of dark objects that could have stolen the emphasis off Nikki.   So, I made everything pretty light in value so that the only dark in the painting was that of the dog.   The painting is a balance of light and dark - striving to make the eye rest directly on Nikki's face.    She is a beautiful dog and has captivating eyes - so full of life.   

The painting was an absolute joy to do and I thank her owner for choosing such a wonderful pose for Nikki's portrait.   Nikki certainly has a zest for life and her eyes tell the entire story.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tennessee..... no traffic and just beautiful

Tennessee is so beautiful.  People wave to us from their vehicles.  We love to see all the homes proudly flying the American flag.   We could live here for sure. People are enjoying seeing the dogs when we are walking them.  Another fun day enjoying the USA.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tennessee...finally

well, after four hours of delays in Arkansas, we made it to Tennessee. We arrived at the hotel at almost midnight. The location was really questionable. So we found another hotel that took dogs and moved to the hotel. So we're set everybody's eaten and it's time to take two tired red dogs for one last potty break.

Arkansas

Well.....we are still in Arkansas.   There is so much work being done on  the highways here that there is a website to check...arkansashighways.com

We have spent no less than four extra hours here.  Right now we are on the 40 with the truck in "park"

Note to self...don't go thru Arkansas to get back to California

Texas Panhandle...day 2

Well, we were able to get five and a half hours sleep last night. The dogs are traveling very well.  Faith refused to pee until today. That's pretty normal for her when we travel, makes me crazy though.

Th
ere is rain on the horizon. Thus far, dry  freeways for us!

heading to Virginia ...day one

Thank you to Arthur and Lisa for staying at our house with our pets so we could take off and go to Virginia.

we were finally packed by midnight. And the alarm came very early at 3:30 a.m. to get up and hit the road.

Here is a picture of sunrise heading across the California desert.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bling's first dog show


"Bling"

Rich and I just returned from three days of Irish Setter Specialties. The clubs offered the new 4 - 6 month puppy class. While I have mixed emotions about showing a 4 month old pup, Bling is 5 1/2 months old and we thought this would be a good opportunity to practice before going to the National. She will be 6 months old almost to the day and that will be her first show.

What a great time I had in the ring with her. The judges were all so kind with the pups. They made a big deal about having a fun environment for the pups. They were kind, gentle and absolutely did not expect the pups to behave like big dogs. I can not compliment the judges enough for making this class a wonderful experience for each puppy as they entered into the dog show world.

Bling had some wild moments in the ring. Well, more wild moments than calm if I have to be honest. One judge told me she saw few "movement moments," but what she did see she liked very much. All we could do was laugh.

It was heartwarming to see all the smiles outside the ring. The spectators clapped and appeared to enjoy watching the pups as much as we enjoyed showing them.

Sunday was by far the most challenging for Bling. She went around the ring with exuberance - wagging the entire time. When the judge went to present me with the best 4 -6 month puppy rosette, Bling grabbed one of the streamers and a game of tug toy with the judge ensued. Finally, smiling, the judge handed me the rosette end of the ribbon, as there was no way Bling was releasing her end. Each day the pups were awarded a new toy for their time in the ring. Bling left the ring each day proudly displaying her "winnings."

Thank you the judges for your kindness and patience as well as to all the folks who came up and complimented me on Bling.

As far as showing her in her first official show....I am afraid!!  :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bloopers on puppy Bling...








Tomorrow is St Patty's day and I always try to take photos of my Irish Setters with a little fun holiday gear on them.  This year we have a pup in the mix.   Bling just turned 5 months old and we've been working on her obedience training with a friend and her lab puppy for two weeks now. 

My husband ran an errand so I grabbed my camera and took the dogs outside.   I tried a practice run and Bling stayed in place - though she chose to lay down rather than sit.   Hum... why not throw the holiday stuff on the dogs and see what happens.

Bling was a bit distracted by bird shadows on the deck and a kitty cat walking by.   To my surprise, she held her sit stay (except when the cat came along).   The other three, Monet, Faith and Drew are all pretty used to me posing them for my paintings.  

If you look at each photo, the older dogs hold their poses for me the entire time regardless what Bling is doing.   It was pretty funny.   This entire session took about three minutes.   For a five month old Irish Setter pup, 3 minutes is an eternity.   Hope you enjoy the photos!

Monday, February 25, 2013



My newest limited edition print is out.   It is part of the "Country Series."    The title is "Old Country" and is available by going to my website at http://www.dawnsecord.com/printsforsale.html or by calling me / emailing me.

The painting features a historic stable and carriage located on the East Coast. The family of Irish Setters are sitting on an antique horse drawn carriage. Two horses are shown inside the stable. They are looking out towards the meadow, which is visible through the breezeway of the stable. Cherry Blossoms are in bloom behind the pups on the carriage.

The property on which the stable and carriage actually sit was a 7,000 acre land grant by Lord Baltimore to his niece in 1703. The structures were believed to be constructed circa 1728. The carriage featured in the painting sits protected inside the carriage house along with a number of other carriages.

To create the painting I worked from a number of photos of the stable during different seasons. I chose to use the spring photos, as that is when the 2013 ISCA National Specialty is actually taking place in Virginia.

The original painting has been sold. There will be reproductions produced in three sizes, as well as artist proofs. All will include a certificate of authenticity and will be signed and numbered.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Our puppy - yellow girl



Bling just turned sixteen weeks old. Crazy. Seems like just yesterday we were looking at the one day old babies. Time sure flies by quickly.....


"Bling" Rendition Treasure Every Minute

AM & INTL CH Willowbrook Artists Rendition JH (Drew) x AM & INTL CH Rusticwood Spellbound CGC (Monet)

She is sure a lot of fun.   Part of me can't wait for her to grow up and part of me wants her to stay as she is - just a fun loving pup.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sera - Borzoi





This is Sera.   I've painted her before - a mini head shot.   She is absolutely gorgeous inside and out.   Her owner has plans to train her to become a therapy dog.   She will definitely excel in that role.   Sera is as tender and sweet as any dog could be!

For her painting, her owners wanted her laying in the back yard with their view of the ocean and flowering landscape.    In the main reference photo, Sera was laying in their bed with her rear legs outstretched.    For the painting, her legs didn't match the pose needed to lay in the grass.   So, I moved her legs under her from the position of being out in front of her.  

This small change really was the right thing to do for the painting.    My eye had kept settling on her legs and body rather than her face.    The ultimate goal of the painting was to lead the viewer's gaze to rest upon Sera's face.    By moving her legs under her, I was able to accomplish this goal.

Hope you enjoy the painting.   Sera is just a joy to be around.    She is a real treasure.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dog Show Journal: January 27, 2013


 
Faith at the Dog Show

Today is a bittersweet day.   Fourteen years ago our girl, Jewel, came into the world.   I only wish that she was still with us to celebrate this day.

Six years ago today we picked up baby Monet at the airport.   As crazy as it was, she arrived from Alabama on Jewel's birthday.   Thus, making this particular date only more special.

We showed Faith today at the Orange Empire dog show.   Years ago, with our very first show Irish Setter, Bailey, we won his first point at this show.  Our first point with our first show dog.  It was cold and raining, but we never noticed!

Today, Faith won and earned another point towards her championship.   It was cold and raining (off and on) again this year.

January 27th is a great day.   We have so many special memories on this day.    Rich and I are thankful for all the experiences this day brings us.   Sorrow helps to make us appreciate happiness.   Losses help us to appreciate the wins.  

Next year we will be able to show baby Bling at the Orange Empire dog show.   The show probably won't be on the exact date of January 27, but it will be a day we know will be special. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Faith at the Dog Show



I showed Faith today at the dog show.   It was a very small show and I had moved her up to the open class.   We practiced in the parking lot and she did fabulous.   Standing ringside she was a little angel.   In our class, she was okay, a bit feisty towards the end, but okay.    Then, we went back in the ring for winners.    My little angel gets that look when she wants to rumble.   Somewhere during our short two minute allotment from the AKC, Faith went on vacation.  She was leaping and frolicking and basically a wild child.   Against my better judgement, I popped the lead and said, "No FAITH!  KNOCK IT OFF!"   Knowing this dog, I should have known what would come next.   "A Challenge!", her little eyes beamed at me.  The games were on.   Dawn "0", Faith "1".

So, I came home and laid down on the bed for a minute, Faith right next to me.   She was so close she was actually breathing my air.   Somewhere in the hazy years passed memory banks of my mind I drifted off to when Jewel was a young dog in the classes.   I kept more of a journal of my dog show experiences then.   Many of the entries said, "Bad Jewel".  "Jewel was a bad dog."  "Bad BAD BAD Jewel."    I smiled and thought of my dog show entry today.  

DOG SHOW JOURNAL:   January 26, 2013 --
Showed Faith today.  Faith was a Bad Dog!   Bad Bad Faith.

I love my dog.  I love her spirit.   We had a good day.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hannah - Red Girl

This is Hannah.  She is one of our pups from Monet and Drew.   She came over a few days ago to visit us.  She knew exactly who I was.    This picture was taken when I called out to her in a voice that I used when she was just a tiny pup.   It is amazing to see that the pups really do remember the people who bred them.   

She played with Bling and her momma, Monet.   It was funny to watch Monet check her out.  Her long lost pup was home and she had to do a full inspection.   The pups are so much fun.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Biscuit

 
This was a very special dog in our lives.  At first her name was Brook.   As a pup she wouldn't come when you called her unless you had a treat - a "biscuit".   At some point her name just became Biscuit.   The above is a tiny oil painting I did of her months ago.   The oil painting was 4 inches x 4 inches.
 
She was owned and loved by dear friends of ours.   She passed away at a young age - 9 years of age.   She had internal problems that no money could fix.   She was owned by our veterinarian - a rescue as a puppy who was the product of a puppy mill.   I'll always love Biscuit.    We miss her so much.