Friday, December 31, 2021

Belgian Malinois Part 4 - Oil Painting Demonstration by Dawn Secord

Above is video 4 of 5 - a large Belgian Malinois oil painting in process. Click on the photo of the computer screen to see the video.
If you enjoy this demo, please subscribe to my Utube channel for more videos - here is a link to the channel -

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Belgian Malinois Part 3 - Oil Painting Demonstration by Dawn Secord

This is part 3 of an oil painting demonstration of a commissioned dog painting. The art collector wanted a close-up painting of the dog's eye. The photos were taken by the artist, Dawn Secord, and the reference photo for the painting had an amazing reflection in it. The photos were taken to achieve this.

Dawn Secord is an artist, writer and illustrator. Her most recent illustrated book, No Ghoulish Green Monsters Here, is her first authored children's picture book. The book is available on her website at DawnSecord (dot) com or aDogBling (dot) com

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Under Sun, Stars and Sails written by Marsha Hall Brown, Illustrated by Dawn Secord

Over a year ago a book came out written by well-known author, Marsha Hall Brown (retired AKC dog judge), and illustrated by me (the new illustrations - there are historical illustrations and paintings in the book as well).   The title is Under Sun, Stars and Sails.    The cover illustration is one of my pieces.   With the craziness of the past almost 2 years, the publicity for the book was impacted.   The book is an amazing historical story.   I am so glad efforts are underway to proceed with the publicity of the book.

The illustration process was more than fascinating.   I created several maps, pencil illustrations, pastel illustrations as well as the cover painting.   The book follows a sea captain, Joseph Marshall who was a master mariner, and his family from 1851 thru 1861 on their voyage at sea from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.   Mind you, at that time, there was no Panama Canal.   Their voyage took them ashore too.    Their trek across the Isthmus of Panama was by train and mule.  The research required to create the illustrations and maps was a journey in and of itself.   I also worked from photos of artifacts and of individuals.   It was an honor to work on a project with Mrs. Brown again.    She is a wealth of information.    She is humble about her background, not only in dogs but as a descendant of the founding families of Nantucket.    Did you know Macy’s founders were from Nantucket?   Nantucket played such a tremendous role in the 1800s whaling industry.   The book is a must read for American history buffs.  The book is filled with actual photos and inserts of historical letters.  It is a must read for those wanting to experience a true-life adventure.

Mrs. Brown just released a captivating book trailer for Under Sun Stars and Sails that I am more than proud to share.   Under Sun, Stars and Sails was published by Spinner Publications, Inc. of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

To see the trailer, click on the following link:

To order the book, click on the following link:

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Oil painting in process of a Belgian Malinois - part 1

Part one of my painting of a Belgian Malinois.    Bling shows up to give us an idea of the size of the painting.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Miss Mia....a painting of an Irish Setter

Mia is an Irish Setter I had long admired on Facebook.   She was a beautiful dog.   Everything about her was lovely. 

It is amazing how time flies by.   I saw photos of her as a pup, in the ring as a young dog, in her yard playing and as the dam of beautiful puppies.  Then the photos started showing a graying face...Irish Setter people call this "Sugar Face" which is so appropriate.   The Irish Setters are sweet dogs.  As they age, and they develop white on their faces, our hearts just melt.   Some just get a soft speckling of white while others have faces that are solid white around the eyes and on the muzzle.    Nothing softens a heart like a veteran dog - regardless of the breed.

The time came when Mia passed.   It was heartbreaking news for those who knew and loved her.

When her owner contacted me to paint her, I was thrilled.   It is always such an honor to paint someone's special animal.   This was no exception.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Story Time with Bling and Dawn - Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

Do you have little children who love hearing bedtime stories? I am starting a story time video series on my dog, Bling's Utube channel. Here is our first video, Interrupting Chicken, by David Ezra Stein. If you haven't read the story to your children or grandchildren, you all are in for a treat. If you just want a distraction for you little ones for a few minutes, this video might be exactly what you need. Interrupting Chicken is a fun and clever story with amazing illustrations. Please consider subscribing to Bling's Utube channel so you don't miss our next video. Hugs and Wags, Dawn Secord and Bling

To get Bling's picture book, No Ghoulish Green Monsters Here, go to her website at

#adogbling, #storytime, #childrensliterature,#childrensbooks, #bedtimestory, #NoGhoulishGreenMonstersHere

Thursday, December 2, 2021

A painting of Billy - Irish Setter

This is a painting of Billy.   He is formally known as CH Bellary Ride Cowboy Ride BN, RI, SWN, CGC, TKN, ATT.

I've known him since he was a pup and painted a mini painting of him at that time.  Now it is ...gosh....5 years later and that pup has grown into a beautiful dog.  I was thrilled to be able to paint him again.  With this painting we used a photo his owner had taken.  It was a lovely pose of him.  The only draw back was the lighting.   The lighting made the darker areas too dark and the lighter areas too light.   To get the proper coloring, I relied on a number of other photos.  There was one photo where his owner held his ear in her hand so I could see the coloring compared to the skin tone of a person.   My goal is never to copy a photo.  The photo is only the roadmap to keep the likeness to that specific animal accurate.  My job as an artist is to create something special.

My art has opened up the opportunity to get to know so many people and I am blessed to be able to call them friends.    When I paint landscapes or wildlife (etc) the paintings are not as personal.   When I am painting someone's beloved animal

it is personal and we develop a relationship.   I want the recipient of the painting to look at the art and know they are looking at their special pet.

Thank you to Rita for having me paint her boy.   It is always an honor.  

Monday, November 29, 2021

Clooney - The Very Best Dog in the World

This is a painting of Clooney.   His owner described him below as the very best dog in the world.   Isn't that how we all feel about our beloved dogs?   Isn't that what we want for each dog - to know that dog is thought of as the very best dog in the world?   Clooney was a wonderful dog and had a wonderful life.   I can vouch, to his family, he was undoubtedly the very best dog in the world.  

I remember the first time I saw a photo of baby Clooney like it was yesterday.  What I remember was seeing a stacked photo of this pup in front of a gorgeous boat.   All I saw was the most breathtaking puppy ever.   Here we are years later and I've had the honor to paint him.  I've asked his owner to share a little bit about Clooney.  Following is her story about Clooney:

Clooney went on his first boating vacation at the tender age of 10 weeks.  It was so rough crossing the Straits into Canada that I donned my life jacket and sat on the salon floor with him while Patrick took the helm and shook his fist at Mother Nature.  Cloo slept through it all.  I remember cautioning Patrick, “You don’t spit into the wind and you don’t let the puppy walk on the inflated tubes of the skiff when you’re underway unless you’re prepared to go in after him.”  PJ’s wallet and its contents spent the awhile spread out on the dining table – drying. 

Cloo blossomed into a lovely adult who finished his Championship quickly and easily.  Peter Kubacz handled him to his first huge win, a BOS at the 2010 National.  There is simply no way to describe what it was like to be having Thanksgiving Day dinner with the family the following November, celebrating our 43rd Anniversary and watching our dog go Best In Show on national TV!  Peter took Cloo to #1 All-Breed points, #2 Breed points in 2011. 

That following spring we moved to a waterfront home and it was perfect except for one thing - It was time to bring Clooney home to enjoy it with us.  Cloo spent the ensuing years working with our son, Michael in the field, trialing with me in Obedience and Rally, running the beaches, swimming, boating and riding around in the skiff with Patrick.  We were fortunate to have him in excellent health to the end.  Sometimes I would hide so Cloo had to find me, then he would trot away ahead of me, down the long hallway to the cookie jar in the kitchen.  It always made me smile as I watched him going away – dead true to the last.  How I wish I could follow him down the hall one more time and tell him again that he was the very best dog in the whole world! 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Where do I begin?? It is all about the love from a dog....Maggie's story

Where do I begin?   I guess it starts back when I was showing Monet (GCH Rusticwood Spellbound CGC) - Bling's mama dog.   Monet was gorgeous.   She just didn't enjoy showing.   At one show in Palm Springs, a well known judge (whom I'd never shown to before) said to me quietly, "She is gorgeous, can you get her to move out for me?"   I shook my head no.  "Not today,"  I replied.  I understood Monet and loved her with every breath I had.  I loved her independence.  I laughed at her "I only do what I want" attitude.   I shrugged my shoulders the time she was excused from the ring when she tried to fake limping.   She was a smart dog; as beautiful as the day was long.   She was one unique and special girl.

Back to my story....I was showing Monet at a specialty at the Irish Setter Club of Southern California's summer show.  In our class, standing behind us, was a woman with the most fabulous mane of blonde hair and a beautiful Irish Setter named Maggie.  I thought to myself, that is a beautiful dog.   I am not sure we can defeat her in this show.   If Monet wanted to show, we had a chance.   What caught my attention the most was how much fun Maggie was having - how much she loved her mom.   They were a special team with a special bond.   Years later, the two were standing in my front yard so I could photograph Maggie for her painting.

On that day, taking the pictures, the vibrant Maggie with a white speckled sugar face still looked up at her mom glowing.   We were laughing and having a grand time taking the photos.   Maggie was healthy given her age.   Both her mom and I knew that her days were fleeting as time will rob us of memories the future could hold.  They say with an Irish Setter, or any large dog for that matter, any time past their 10th year is a gift.   We were in Maggie's gift time.   

Maggie would pass a year later.   We sat outside the home while the vet went inside to help Maggie on to rest.   We were there for Maggie's mom.   After Maggie passed, it took Maggie's mom a few years to be able to look at the photos again for the painting.  There was no rush.   It would happen when the time was right.    A few months ago it was time.    We had gone through the photos while Maggie was still with us and made notes of favorites.   When it came time to choose the primary reference photo, though there were many wonderful candidates, one jumped out.   The one that jumped out was Maggie looking up at her mom...that look of love I'd seen so many years ago when Maggie and Monet were youngsters.

I hope Maggie and Monet are once again young; I hope they are jumping around chasing butterflies and waiting for their moms to play with them again when those days come.  You see our love for our dogs never dies.   Our love is always in our hearts and when we close our eyes, we see those priceless memories that will keep us together until we meet at the rainbow bridge.

Friday, November 12, 2021

A great GIFT this holiday season!

A great gift idea.  No Ghoulish Green Monsters Here is a picture book written and illustrated by Dawn Secord.   Join the main charater, Bling (an Irish Setter) as she learns about facing fears, building self esteem and teamwork.  The book is available on the book's website:

Friday, October 15, 2021

A painting of Tallie - Irish Setter

 It is always so special when an existing art collector returns for another painting.   I have painted for her twice and now, Tallie is the third dog painted.

Her owner, Julia, and I were going back and forth on photos of Tallie for the painting and none of the photos reflected the true Tallie.   We all know our dogs and though some photos may be gorgeous, they simply do not reflect the personality of the dog.   The reference photo we used was a quickie cellphone photo taken by a friend who had just groomed Tallie.   The photo was put on Facebook.  I happened across it by fate and contacted Julia immediately.   We have our photo I told her.   She thought about it and agreed.   Tallie lives in another state and I've not met her.  From Julia's descriptions of Tallie, I knew we had the photo.

Here is joyful and rollicking Tallie; the ever smart and obedient girl who is filled with love...and who is forever giving kisses.  I hope you enjoy viewing the painting as much as I enjoyed painting her.   Thank you to Julia for the honor of painting your special girl.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Lucy and her pups - a family affair

 This is a painting of Lucy and her two pups, Kate and Emmy (who are from Lucy's two litters).

It was so much fun to paint the girls.   I've known all three dogs for many years.   Lucy is no longer with us, but lives on through her pups.   

Lucy and my Monet were similar in age and were shown against each other in the dog show ring.   The girls knew each other.   Both Lucy and Monet are now gone as difficult as that is to comprehend.

Lucy's first litter produced Kate.   Kate and my girl, Baby Faith, were two months apart in age and were shown against each other and knew each other.  Gosh - the girls are 11  years old now.  Time is a vapor.

Emmy is from Lucy's second litter.  Emmy is almost a year younger than my Bling.  And yes, they showed against each other, stayed in hotels together and went on many walks together.   Emmy and Bling look so much alike that Emmy's owner once took Bling for a long walk in Palm Springs thinking he had Emmy.   Imagine my fright when I found Bling's crate empty....  Bling had a long walk and I had to take a tranquilizer.   (not really but I do stress when my girls are out of my sight)....   We all had a good laugh.   Bling is days away from turning 9 and Emmy is 8.   

It is nice to know the dogs that I paint.   The interesting thing though is that I truly get to know the dogs I am painting if I don't know them beforehand.   The owners or family members who have commissioned the art tell me stories about the dogs that helps me get to know the dog (or other pets) that I am painting.   I know if the animal was bold, sensitive, quiet, outgoing and that information goes into my painting.   The painting process allows me to gaze into their eyes for many hours.   The relationship is formed and by the time the painting is completed, I know the pet I have just painted.

I hope you gave enjoyed the little walk down memory lane.   As said earlier, time is but a vapor.  Our pets come into our lives and though they are never with us long enough (no matter how long that is) they leave their pawprints on our hearts.