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.   

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Art Studio Tour with Dawn Secord

 Hi Friends,

I have finally finished a project that I've been working on for some time - a studio tour of my new studio.   The video is on my Utube channel.  The channel address is Utube Bling Secord and I hope you will subscribe to it.

My goal with the Utube channel is to be more active with video logs of me providing art demonstrations, paintings in progress and recording book readings with Bling at libraries.  Lots of fun stuff!  Below is the link to my studio tour video.  It is 11 minutes long.  You may want to pause it and return if you don't have time to watch all at one time.   Warmly,  Dawn Secord

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Writer's Digest features my journey to self publishing. By Dawn Secord

My friends, family and art collectors know I had a life long dream of writing and illustrating my own children's picture book.   No Ghoulish Green Monsters Here is that book and the first in a new (and forth coming) series featuring my Irish Setter, Bling.

Writer's Digest has asked me to share my journey of self publishing my award winning picture book.  What an incredible honor.   Below is the link to my article.   Thank you to Writer's Digest for the opportunity to share my story and hopefully be of assistance to other authors and illustrators on their journeys.

Direct Link:

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book - Writer's Digest (

Link Address:

No Ghoulish Green Monsters Here - a children's picture book

  • Awarded "Silver Award" by Mom's Choice Awards
  • Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)  July 2021 reading list
  • Finalist - International Book Awards sponsored by American Book Fest


Thursday, September 2, 2021

An interview with VoyageDallas Magazine - Dawn Secord

Recently I was contacted by VoyageDallas Magazine for an interview.  It was surprising to see the length of the article.   I sure didn't expect them to be so thorough.  It is an honor to be included.  Here is the link to the article and magazine.

It was an honor to be included in the magazine.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Painting of Killian - an Irish Setter

I had known Killian since he was a pup.   I watched him mature into a beautiful dog who graced the show ring as well as excel into a highly respected dog in the field.   I watched his muzzle develop the gray hairs that disclosed he is older than young.   While we don't want to think about our dogs aging, we don't really want to see it either.   The whiter faces on the Irish Setter are so heartwarming.    They also make us think of time....the dreaded time that passes like a vaper.   We don't see it but yet we do.

After Killian passed, When Killian's owner asked for a painting of Killian as a gift for his wife (Killian's human mom) I was thrilled.    For his painting, I used a number of photos to assist in the project.   There was a primary reference photo which showed his lovely head.  It was a bit shadowed so other photos were of paramount assistance with his coat and eye coloring.  It was an honor to paint him.

I asked Jen if she would share a little bit about Killian.   This is what she said:

Killian was an incredible hunting dog.      We know that this is what the Irish setter is bred to do and Killian did it with style and perfection.

We still think of him when we are with dogs in the field and a bird is “there somewhere” but the other dogs can’t find it.   

“Send Killian, he will !” 

 Killian at home was the rollicking, sweet, gentle Irish we all talk of as being the best characteristics of the breed.   Killian was sensitive; not in a timid way but in his connections.   He knew what each of the family members (humans and animals) wanted/needed, and was generous enough to give his best to all of us!

This painting is a very special gift to me.   CH Roclyn Killians Red MHA, 

With me always!🐾❤️

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

East Texas Afternoon - Pastel Society of the Southwest 4oth National Juried Exhibition

 There is an interesting story behind this painting, East Texas Afternoon.

Last  year, I was asked by a friend to do a real quick color sketch for a pond he was potentially expanding in East Texas.   There were two ponds, side by side, with one being at a slightly higher elevation.   One pond was on his property, the second pond on a neighbor's property.     There was an agreement that the neighbor's property was going to be sold and the two ponds would be merged at some point.    Merging the ponds would help stop drainage from one to the other while allowing the neighbor's grandchildren to fish in the ponds.

My task was to create a visual aid of the two ponds - apart and merged.   We drove out to East Texas and I photographed the ponds.   I did the following sketches and sent them off to my friend.

A few months later, I decided to do a painting of the ponds - not a sketch, but a true painting.   Well, I wasn't really happy with what I created so I trashed it.   Yep, gone, no more painting.   Sometimes that happens when I am doing something just to do it.   If I know what I am painting, it is different.   Very seldom do I feel the need to trash something.    This painting was the equivalent of a bad hair day.

I wanted a new painting to enter in art shows in 2021.   Most art shows will only accept work done in the last few years.  Doing so much commissioned work gives me little time to create paintings for other purposes.   I pulled out my photos of the ponds and sat down at my easel.   Instead of painting one pond this time - as I had done previously, I painted both ponds with one flowing into the other.   Of course, there was no reference photos for this as the ponds are still separate.   The painting is an artist's interpretation of what I envision the ponds to look like once they are merged.   I also added more color to the trees and water.   The reference photos were taken when it was late summer.  No leaves had really started changing color.   I love throwing color where I imagine it - finding that balance in a composition of color harmony.

Where am I going with all of this?   Well, the painting has just been accepted into a national juried show to my delight.   Will it win something - only the judge will determine that.  Though I questioned my trashing the original painting at the time it was trashed, I am so glad that I didn't trash the idea of the painting.   Thank you to the Pastel Society of the Southwest for sponsoring their 40th National Juried Exhibition.   I am thrilled and honored to be a part of it.  For those in North Texas, the exhibition will be in Grapevine, Texas from September 13, 2021 through November 1, 2021.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

A painting of Phoenix - Irish Setter

 This painting was a gift from one friend to another.   It is always so very exciting when a person approaches me to create a surprise for another.

The reference photos were a little difficult to acquire in this scenario.   Facebook can be friend and foe at times.   This time - a friend.   The recipient of the painting and owner of Phoenix had a number of photos on her page.    I felt like Goldilocks and the Three Bears- some photos were too far away, some photos were too blurry, this photo was just right!

Phoenix and his owner had gone on a trip across America starting at the East Coast and ending in Alaska.   The reference photo was from a selfie.   The background from the painting was from a scene photo taken on that trip.   

The gift exchange was made at the Irish Setter Club of America National Specialty - 2021.   Tears flowed as the gift giver gave the present and the recipient realized the painting on my easel in my art booth was her dog.   Okay - I shed a few tears too.   

I hope the painting will give Phoenix's mom many wonderful memories as she reflects on their journey while enjoying her painting.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Painting of Pepper, an Irish Setter

This is a painting of Pepper.   She was a very special girl to a loving family.    She lived a long life.   To honor her, the family decided to have a painting done of her.

They looked at a life long collection of photos trying to decide which photo would be the one to be used as our primary reference photo.   The chose to use one when she was a bit younger.   She had a frisky personality and this photo - the eye contact - provided them with wonderful memories of a girl that knew who she was and what she liked.    

Thank you for having me paint your girl.   I wish I could have met her!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Bling shows her zoom session setup

Bling is offering a free zoom session for teachers or homeschooling groups who have purchased her picture book, No Ghoulish Green Monsters Here.

The picture book may be purchased on Bling's website at   .   If you are in the Texas, a list of stores carrying Bling's book are on the "store" page ...

Thank you for your interest in Bling's first picture book.   Wags and hugs, Bling and Dawn

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Painting of Charlie - German Shepherd Dog

 This painting was recently completed of a beautiful German Shepherd Dog named Charlie.   He was a very special family member.   

When I am asked to paint a dog painting for a family, it is a special request.  For someone to commission me to paint their dog, there is no question if the dog is a family member or not.   

Growing up, we had a German Shepherd that looked very similar to Charlie.  A few years later, as a young teenager, our family rescued a German Shepherd / Lab mix.   That dog would later intervene and stop a charging bull from hurting me.   Dogs are such an important part of our lives.   German Shepherds are such wonderful family dogs.   Painting their thick coats is always a fun endeavor.   The black and tan colors of the breed are such a compliment to the eye.   Photographs never do paintings justice - for any artist.  I've placed some fun blue and purple shadows and highlights in this painting.  They are intermixed in Charlie's coat and are mostly undetected in this photograph.   Nothing takes the place of viewing art in person.   Don't underestimate going to an art exhibit or museum to view art.   What  you will see in person is so much more than what photographs of that art will show you.

Being able to be a full time artist is such a blessing.   A big thank you to John and Lana for having this painting of Charlie created by me.  It was an honor to paint him.   I can't wait for you to see the painting in person.

Charlie's reference photo:

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Reba and Luna - a painting of a mother and daughter

 This is a painting created using soft pastels.  It is of two Irish Setters, a mother and daughter.

Reba (left) and Luna (right) were mother and daughter.   Reba has left us and Luna is a special girl that allows her family not only to love her deeply, but have a little piece of Reba through her.   

Until we bred a litter, I didn't truly appreciate the depth of having a mom and a pup.    Through the pups you see tidbits of their parents - the mannerisms, maybe little quirks - inherited traits.  These traits, unless you knew the parents, maybe just fun aspects of that given dog.   Knowing the parents, you understand the tidbits are inherited little precious moments that remind you of their parents.   We see that in our human families.   Fun little behaviors inherited from parents or grandparents.

For the painting, I flipped Luna's pose in her reference photo so that she would be leaning in towards her mother.   The beauty of a painting is there are no rules.   You can paint what is in your heart and create the setting.  It was a great experience to paint a mom and her pup together.  Thank you to all those involved.

Give your dogs a big hug.   Time goes by so quickly.  Regardless of mom, pup or otherwise, before we blink an eye, that dog has grown older and we are wondering how time passed without us knowing it was happening.

Below are the reference photos used for the painting:

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Cooper - Original Pastel Painting

When a new painting image is posted to my blog I usually talk about the painting and the process while painting that commission.   Recently, in a small boutique in McKinney, Texas, I happened upon a small book containing a collection of great sayings.    I thought it might be fun to share some of these inspirational tidbits.    In the atmosphere of wanting a positive environment surrounding all of us, following is my inspirational share for the day....along with a piece of my art.

An original painting - Cooper

Self respect,
self worth and self love,
all start with self.
Stop looking outside of
yourself for your value.

author unknown.