Monday, February 25, 2008

Portrait of Jade

This is a portrait of Jade, "Ch Rockherin Jade Star". The portrait was commissioned in April 2007. There is a waiting list for my portraits which is explained to all who commission a portrait. In January 2008 it was time to get organized on her portrait and I had been communicating with Jade's owners on getting pictures of her. She had such sweet eyes - gentle eyes. Many photos were taken of her until there was one that said - this is the one - the primary reference pose. The better the photo the more detail and reference material I have with which to work.

Jade was a senior dog when I was commissioned to paint her. In April she was a strong girl and doing well. Her owners sent me many photos taken over the course of January and beginning of February 2008. It was amazing how young she looked in the photos. Her owners had requested that I could make her a bit younger looking in her portrait. The initial sketching was done when I realized her owners had not identified what type of background they preferred for the painting. So, a quick call to Michigan to find out that missing piece of information and I was told the devastating news - Jade wasn't doing well and her owners were faced with making the decision all loving pet owners dread. My heart sank. She had been stable in January.

About 12 years ago I was painting a cat portrait in oil and had encountered the same situation. During the completion of the painting - the cat passed away from kidney disease. This is such an emotional situation for all parties involved. My heart breaks for the pet owners. How will the painting be received? Will it be a joy for Jade's human family or will it break their hearts? It has been an honor to have been able to gaze into Jade's loving eyes for the past few weeks while her portrait was painted. Tears are in my eyes as I think of her loss - I wish I could do more for her family. Thank you to her owners for allowing me to get to know her through her painting.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Loving Life

Our Irish Setter, Monet, is 15 months old. She has so much to teach us if we would only stop, look and listen.
She begins each day with a wagging tail and a positive attitude. She inspires me to be unaffected by negative influences. She is a constant reminder to be happy and enjoy life to the fullest. She makes me smile and laugh all day long.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Irish Setter Greeting Cards

Recently I finished this painting of an Irish Setter. Each year when my husband and I attend the ISCA National Specialty my goal is to come out with a new image of a setter on greeting cards.

The originating photograph was taken by a professional photograher. Permission was obtained to use the photograph for reference material to paint a portrait for the owners of the dog. I loved the pose of the dog, she is so beautiful and regal, and the fun blues used as the background color were a flattering compliment to her coloring. This was the ideal piece of my artwork to put into greeting cards this year. The photographer was contacted and permission was extended to use his image not only for the painting but for the painting to then be put on my greeting cards.

Thank you to all parties involved for being supportive of these new greeting cards. The cards may be purchased from my website at

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Buzzy the Thoroughbred

Buzzy's portrait was just completed. Buzzy had been a race track horse and is now used for competitive riding.

I took over 100 photos when photographing him for a portrait. His owner had me take photos of him in his English bridle, posing with their dog, standing freely and running in the arena. The photos were taken mid morning and the sun was just peeking over the hills and had cast back lighting on Buzzy as he ran towards me. The natural lighting effect was spectacular and ultimately played a large role in which photo was chosen to be painted. He is a very kind horse with an edge of energy. This painting shows both sides of him.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Art Show At The Dog Show Exhibit

One of my original paintings, "Golden Dreams", was just juried into the annual exhibit, Art Show at the Dog Show. It is so exciting to be juried into this show. This exhibit is for canine artists exclusively and always features many amazing artists.

The golden in the painting is Maggie. She is a senior dog and had gotten a little tired that morning. I had been photographing her for a portrait and she laid down on her owners' bed. The morning light was coming in the second story window and cast the most beautiful shadows on her. This painting was completed some years after the portrait of Maggie had been painted. The pose and the gentleness of Maggie captured my heart and I had waited years to paint her in this setting. The painting has been hanging in my living room for the past few months and now I will be able to share the artwork with others when "Golden Dreams" is exhibited in Wichita, Kansas this spring. Go to to see the show.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

People Portrait: Lindsey

Many people know me only as an animal artist so here is a recent painting of one of the people portraits that has been completed recently. The ocean behind the subject was much darker in the reference photo.

When the original colors were first laid in the ocean competed with Lindsey as the primary focus. Before painting in pastel I was an oil painter for over 20 years. With great frequency the skills learned over the years in oil painting have rolled over into my pastel paintings. To take the focus off the background I used some greys and blue greys to glaze over the existing colors to knock the ocean back into the distance. The waves then need to be re painted with lighter greys and some very light yellows. The result was exactly what I had intended. Lindsey popped out from the background.

This painting was done on pastel board and is 16" x 20", This was the first time I had used this surface for painting a person. The pastel board allowed me to do a lot of mixing right on the surface and gave me a feeling of working once again in a wet medium with the imediate results of a dry medium. It was a great experience and I look forward to using the pastel board more often in the future.

Dawn Secord Blog

Today is a big day. I have finally taken the time to start my blog. A dear friend recently suggested that a blog be started to keep my collectors up to date on what is going on in my "art" life. As with anything, a blog spot came down to time. I was thinking the other day what is something every one wants, rarely appreciates and never has enough of. The answer was simple in my life - it all comes down to time.

The painting pictured here is "Sweet Dreams". This painting recently returned from a month long exhibit in New York City. The exhibit was hosted by the Pastel Society of America (PSA) which is the most prestigious pastel society in the Country. The exhibit is an annual event. PSA accepts about 200 pieces of art Internationally. Being part of this exhibit was a great honor. To visit the PSA website please go to Limited Edition giclee prints are available of this painting.