Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Santa Barbara December 26, 2009

My husband, Rich, and I took our three dogs to his parents home in Santa Barbara. They are dog lovers and have a golden retriever. The dogs all got along beautifully and played together in the backyard overlooking the ocean.

Drew and Monet played chase all day long. Don't know what it is about that ocean air - but our dogs went crazy!

We had a great day and were all quite tired when we drove home that evening!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ho Ho Ho from the Secord Pets

Here are two of my pets.....Monet who is an Irish Setter and Cash who is a blue point Siamese Cat. Monet is about 15 months old in these photos and Cash was about three years old. It is two years since those photos were taken and oh my gosh how time flies!

Hope you enjoy the photos. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Dawn Secord

Friday, December 18, 2009


This is Ch Rusticwood Dance To The Music "Morgan" aka Goober. The photo reference for this painting was of a young Morgan - approximately 5 years old. Morgan just turned 12 years old on November 4th. She is a very special girl to her human family and the portrait of her was/is a Christmas gift.

My husband and I had the privilege of meeting Morgan this past summer while we traveled in Georgia. She still has a beautiful mahogany coat and has a real sweet temperament.

Merry Christmas to Morgan and her family!!
To see more dog art please go to my website at or

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Irish Setters can pass obedience class!

These are two of our dogs - Monet and Drew. Monet - our feisty three year old girl and Drew - our crazy boy who is 21 months old. They are both Irish Setters.

Monet graduated from basic obedience class last Wednesday. This was her third time in such a class. However, this was a new instructor, a new training facility, and this instructor kept meatballs in her pocket. Monet was going to LOVE this class....

Drew .... well .... Drew. He sure had a great time in class. His undivided attention however was not on me but on the fattest little corgi named Tabitha. Treats didn't matter, coaxing didn't matter. Drew is in love. Poor little Tabitha had his big clunky paw set down on top of her little head more times than I care to confess!

These pictures were taken to see if they really knew "wait". As you can see it kinda worked. Notice a few of the pictures have no treats in them....hum.....or should I say "Yum"!

Annie - Ch Jewelset's Special Attraction ROM

I first met Annie in Rhode Island in 2005 at the Irish Setter National Specialty. Her owner approached me to photograph her for a painting. This painting was to be a gift to another party.

For the past five years I've admired Annie at the various National Specialties. Once again (to my excitement) I was asked to paint Annie. This time it would be for Annie's human mom to keep and not to be a gift. The same original photograph taken in Rhode Island was used. The only changes were to add the graying to her muzzle that had come in with age. Additional photos were supplied and the painting was started.

Anie is a regal ageless beauty and thank you so much for the opportunity to paint her and her kids. To see more of my work please go to my website at

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ready & Waiting Greeting Cards

A number of people have asked me to restock this Irish Setter greeting card. Until now, all greeting cards have been sold until that particular card sells out and then I pick a new image to put on to cards.

The model for this card is my girl, Jewel. She was a real stinker and kept spitting the leash out of her mouth. It was all quite fun and each time I look at these cards I picture her pitiful face pleading with me to just take her for a walk and to quit messing around like some crazy paparazzi!

The greeting cards can be purchased directly from my website by clicking here or feel free to call me or email me! 866-393-7111 or The image is also available in limited edition signed prints - click here to go to my prints for sale web page.

Thanks for taking a peek at my work!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Working Boots" Western Art

This painting was juried into a Western Art show in Texas. The show has a special purpose that touched my heart. Proceeds from the sale go to assist the medical costs that insurance does not cover for children with cancer.

The boots belong to our friend, Wayne. His wife, Judy, and a dear friend, is in remission for cancer. When I found out about the show, I knew I had to paint something for it.

It was an honor to have my work selected for the exhibit by the jurying process.

Hope you enjoy the artwork!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Niklas" the Borzoi

This is Niklas. He lives in beautiful San Diego over looking the ocean. When my husband and I went down to photograph him he was rollicking in his back yard. He'd sit and look out over the ocean. His owners said that is one of his favorite past times.

We took numerous photos of Niklas looking out at the ocean and some more conventional photos for a second painting which will be a head study.

Niklas is a spectacular dog. He is gentle and sweet yet full of life. It is always heart stopping to watch a Borzoi gleefully bound around their homes.

Watch for another portrait of Niklas in the near future! To see more Borzoi paintings on my website please click here!

Friday, October 23, 2009

"Dillon" Irish Setter

This is "Dillon" Am. Can. Ch. Rusticwood's Airtight Alibi. I've known Dillon for many years and he is a wonderful dog. We photographed him at a number of dog shows trying to get the perfect shot of him for his portrait.

Ultimately three photographs were the primary reference material for this portrait. One photo was the main pose. However, that photo had draw backs. His eyes were squinting as he was in the sun and his neck was hanging a bit funny due to his leash and his owner holding his head up with her hand. From the photos taken of him there was a perfect eye photo giving me his eye shape and eye color. That photo was used as my visual aid to create his eyes in the painting. Another photo had him standing at ease with no restrictions on his neck. That photo was used to create the natural look to his neck.

I always tell people we take lots of photos because I won't know what will be needed until the painting is started! This painting was a perfect example of needing multiple photos.

Thanks Dillon for being such a good poser! More paintings of Irish setters along with many other breeds are on my web site. Please click here to go take a peek!

For information on commissioning a painting of your dog, cat or horse - click here!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

BIS BISS CH Rendition Treasured Moment CGC "Jewel"

Jewel is my heart dog. Recently I was reminiscing on things we had done together. She was in a photo shoot some years back for Pedigree. Pedigree had flown a famous photographer in from Canada and had a number of dogs ready for the photo shoot which took place in Los Angeles - Griffith Park. Jewel and Bailey were the only two Irish Setters there.

A number of photos of Bailey and Jewel were used on the Pedigree website as a result. The photos all had models handling my dogs. Bailey was shown walking with an older gentleman, Bailey and Jewel were used together and my favorite pose was Jewel laying on her back next to a female model. That photo was ultimately placed on the front page of the Pedigree website.

Here is one photo of Jewel from the Pedigree website. Jewel is such a hoot. She is always putting a smile on my face. Now, as she approaches age 11, she does her best work as a therapy dog putting smiles on the faces of others.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Monet goes WB at Burbank Kennel Club

Dog showing is a funny thing. We always try to predict what the judges will or will not like. We avoid some and follow others. I learned a long time ago not to "follow" anyone as there is no telling what other dogs will show that day or how I will feel or my dog will feel for that matter.

I try to avoid the shows when it is hot outside as Monet does not do well in the heat. We entered both our young dogs this past weekend only to support our local dog club when they were trying to build majors. I knew it would be too hot and I knew Monet would do badly. Once again I'm eating my words. It was hot - sweltering at over 100 degrees and humid like is expected in Texas. To top things off - Monet was in season. She showed well, ignored the heat and humidity and won for the girls. Our little boy, Drew, was insane because Monet was in season. Monet however - was perfect - a little gem! Hope our show picture turns out nicely.
Note to self: "Show when you feel like it and enjoy your dogs!"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Drew sleeping on Jewel's Thrown

Jewel on her Thrown in the Studio

Drew taking over Jewel's thrown......

Our dogs keep me in stitches. There is a leather chaise near my easel and Jewel is usually on it watching me. She lays there like the little princess she is. Then there is Drew - our typical "teenage" male Irish Setter. He just turned 19 months old.

I was painting and looked over to see the pretty delicate face of Jewel perched on her thrown only to see Drew laying about like such a boy! It was so funny - just had to share it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Newport Beach

Rich and I were in Newport Beach (California) for a birthday party this past weekend. The party went boating around the harbor for a few hours. It was absolutely fabulous.

Being post 911 by one day - there were American Flags flying everywhere. It was just awesome. This one flag took my breath away. It had to be 60 feet long. Look at it in comparison to the boats and building below. What a sight.

God Bless America!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 911

Remembering those who lost their lives, thanking those that continue to protect us....

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Lacey the kitten and her Big Red Dog

Lacey to Drew: TAKE THIS!

Drew to Lacey: LETS JUST CUDDLE!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dreamer the Irish Setter

This is Dreamer. Here is his story as told by his human mom:

Last year we had a litter in which 5 of the pups were diagnosed with Parvo. One of these pups was in the hospital for 2 weeks. It was touch and go, with the vet and the techs not knowing if he would live or die. During his stay, they became quite attached to little "Tan Boy". He did eventually get well and came home from the hospital. There were 2 others that had the parvo pretty bad, but this one was, by far, the worst. When he came home, he was so skinny and weak. It was a real effort for him to walk, let alone play. I let him and his 2 other weak brothers out in the yard alone to move freely for a few minutes each evening. This boy came up to me while I was sitting in my chair, sat down and looked up at me with the saddest eyes. It had been determined that he was a pet and not show quality before he got sick. In that look, he seemed to be telling me that he was home, and he never wanted to leave again. How pathetic his look. I began to cry and took him in my arms and told him that he would never leave. He was ours forever. The litter theme was mountain. His name - Belvedere's Climb Every Mountain. He had climbed his mountain! His call name is Dreamer. Now, of course, when he was out in that yard, I had the camera. I took 2 pictures of that sad boy, with his pitiful look. I have cherished those photos since. He is not small or skinny anymore. He is a big, hyper, happy boy, who will knock you over if he jumps on you. He wants to please and will instantly sit or down on command, but he cannot keep his feet still for 2 seconds. He is great in the house, but wants to play fetch constantly. I am so glad that I made our home his home. Well, I sent the 2 photos to Dawn Secord. I wanted a portrait of this boy! Tonight, she surprised me by sending me a photo of the finished portrait. I can only tell you that when I opened the tears came into my eyes as I remembered the day he begged me to keep him. Dawn has done it again! She captured the whole instant in her superb work! Thank you, Dawn.

Fun is being with an Irish Setter Terry Z

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lucy and Hogan - Irish Setters

Lucy and Hogan's portrait has been in the making for some time. The first time they were photographed was in Arizona - April 2008. It was very hot and windy at that time and we all decided to take more photos at a later date.

We took pictures of Lucy again in October 2008 in Pleasanton California. There were some truly wonderful photos. Lucy is a gorgeous girl so it would have been nearly impossible not to get a good photo. She was born to be a cover girl!

Recently Hogan's owners had taken some great shots of him in an outside park setting. He was sitting on a bench just giving the camera the "rollicking" look of an Irish Setter. It was "that" look that his owner was trying to capture. Hopefully this painting will give you a look into the wonderful world of Hogan and a glimpse of the beauty of Lucy.

My only concern with this painting has been sneaking it out of my house - and away from my husband who has laid claim to it and does not want me to ship it off to its rightful owners!
My website features a number of finished works and prints - both limited and open editions for sale. Please go take a peek!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Baby Drew Secord

I just came across the attached photo of Drew. He was a young pup in an exercise pen when the photo was taken. If you look closely his doggie lips are both pulled up so it looks like he is smiling.
Is there anything cuter than an Irish Setter Pup? Perhaps to some the answer is Yes! But to me - hum - I have to say baby Irish Setters are the cutest!!

Golden Retriever "Prince"

This is Prince - a Golden Retriever. At this time he is gone. He lived to be almost 15 years old and we understand he had quite a healthy life. Prince lived with a great family who adored him.

He was a beautiful dog inside and out. His family told emailed about his portrait, "It is beautiful and captures his soul. You made us cry in a joyous way."
Thank you to Prince's family for allowing me to paint their special boy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Irish Setter "Moxie"

This is a portrait of Moxie - in the dog show world she is known as BIS/BISS Am. Can. Ch. Windntide Sand In My Genes CD, JH, RN, CGC, VC.

Moxie has been an Irish Setter I've admired for years. She is a few months younger than my heart dog, Jewel. There have been few but wonderful times we've shown against Moxie in the ring and I've been able to admire her from an intimate distance.

It was a joy to be secretly approached by Patrick at the Arizona ISCA National Specialty in 2008 to paint Moxie's portrait as a surprise gift for Carol. We took a number of photos of her there and additional photos were sent to be afterwards. Moxie is quite the little "sailor" and can be found yachting around the Northwest Pacific. It was a perfect scene to paint her sitting comfortably in the vessel she knows so well.
If you are interested in having me paint a portrait of your dog please email me at or call me!

Thank you to Moxie's parents for the wonderful experience of working together on our "Moxie" project. I hope Moxie touches you when you view her portrait as much as she touches me.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Watson is a very special dog who was rescued from a hording situation in Illinois. He is a cross of hound and husky. Due to his lack of socialization he was a candidate to be euthanized.

The local shelter there would only release Watson to one person - his current owner. Watson has thrived in his new loving home and has blossomed into a wonderful companion. This portrait of Watson is to be a Christmas gift from one sister who lives here in Southern California to her sister that lives with Watson in Illinois.

It was an honor to paint such a special dog.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Malibu Art Festival July 2009

The Malibu Art Festival this year was so much fun. The weather was remarkable. Last year it was much warmer and overall just not as pleasant. This year the ocean breeze was cool and refreshing and it was just awesome to be outside. So much of my time is in the studio with limited people contact (other than my persistent requests to friends to meet me at Starbucks!!) Being out with people discussing life and art was a welcome change to my regular schedule.

I was working on a painting of four Irish setters - four generations, a great grandmother, grandmother, mother and daughter. It was so interesting to see how the painting invoked responses from people. The white faces on the older dogs just touched the hearts of dog lovers. A lot of people stopped to watch me paint and it was simply great fun to be there.

Huge thanks to those who traveled up to Malibu to visit me in the booth and see my latest works. Hoping the weather in Malibu is great next year too!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Irish Setter Club of America National Specialty 2009

Rich and I are home from the 2009 ISCA National Specialty. We drove to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Over the course of 12 days we traveled 5700 miles and saw 20 states. OH MY GOSH - we had a BLAST!!! We traded off driving every 3 to 5 hours. It was great!

We had rented a Toyota Sienna minivan. Driving there, we could see out the back of the van. However, on the way home - the back part of the van kept getting fuller and fuller!

Our plans did not originally include driving to Atlanta, Georgia - but we did end up there staying with Tammy and Duane Sasso. Boy was it nice to stay in a real bed in a real house after staying in hotel after hotel. Drew and Monet emptied the Sasso's dogs toy basket with in minutes. Thanks to the Sasso's for their hospitality.

From there we headed for Texas to see my brother, his wife, Paige, and surprise my mom. We looped Monet's leash over mom's front door knob, knocked and hid. Once the door was opened Monet walked right in and stood up on my step father. It was really funny. She knew who he was but he did not recognize her immediately. He expected her to be in California! My brother took me to his new property - 12 acres north of Dallas. We took those show dogs out in the "country" for some down home romping. The only one that ended up with a tick was me....... We took 100s of landscape photos for my paintings.

As always, it was so much fun to the show the dogs. Drew placed 4th in his 12 - 18 month old dog class - quite a thrill to receive a placement at the National! Monet showed well, did a little running off of her exuberance. She had fun and she had me in stitches in the ring. She is such a happy dog!

It was wonderful visiting with everyone at the National. I never imagined my art would become such a blessing to us - we've met so many fabulous people as a result of my artwork. We can't thank people enough for coming to our booth to visit with us. It is so heartwarming to be able to see people in person that normally are communicating with me via email or the telephone. Thanks to the show staff that put all the work into the show - it was awesome.

We came home, bought a Toyota Sienna and are looking forward to our next road trip!

Monday, June 1, 2009

I Love my Irish Setters

This past weekend was the Irish Setter Club of Southern California Specialty. It was a bitter sweet day.

I had three of our dogs entered. The baby, Drew (15 months old) went Reserve Winners Dog. Monet (2 years old) placed 2nd of 5 in American Bred Bitch. Then I entered my heart dog, Jewel (10 1/2 years old) in the parade of Champions.

When Jewel was two she won an ISCSC Specialty going Best in Specialty Show from the open class. Several years later she went Best of Opposite Sex. Last year, at the ISCA National Specialty, I retired her. 10 months prior, unbenownst to many, Jewel had cancer - an injection site carcinoma from her rabies shot. To get all the cancer part of her tendon had to be removed. While healing she put all her weight from her left rear on her left front leg. She did have a limp which is now gone. Actually today she had a senior check up at the vet and her movement and range of motion is once again 100% - no less than a miracle.

Jewel loves to show. Actually Jewel is the reason I love to show. She taught me showing is more than winning - showing is about joy - the joy of accomplishing something with your dog - the joy of making friends - the joy of celebrating with others - the joy of camaraderie.

I put Jewel in this show - in the parade of Champions. She was not in competition but she didn't know that. She ran around the ring totally acknowledging the applause of those outside the ring. Her pace quickened and tail wagged more when people started clapping for her. It took all my strength to hold back my tears. I wish she would live forever.

I love our dogs and love to show our dogs. To us - it is just another day at the park - a time for treats and pets and simply having that special time together.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Irish Setter Puppy - "Wanna Play Too!"

This painting was just completed to take to the Irish Setter National Specialty.

Several months ago a similar painting of the same Irish Setter was painted. That painting, "Wanna Play" was completed to be part of an exhibit I was featured in at the Pinnell Gallery called "The Art of the Dog". The painting sold at the opening of the show. The puppy in the painting is my dog, Monet, at four months of age.

"Wanna Play" was so well received by those at the opening of the exhibit I decided to do another similar painting - same puppy at probably the same sitting. This new painting is titled, "Wanna Play Too!"

It would be very interesting to hear which of the two paintings you favor. "Wanna Play" is on my blog under the month of April 2009 or on my website under the new painting page. To go directly to that page click this link: go see Wanna Play!.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Never say never......

This weekend was the Mission Circuit dog show in Pomona California. This show has the reputation of being a "professional handler's show". We exclusively owner handle our dogs. The only time we had a handler was one time with Jewel at last year's National. So, we try to stay away from the shows deemed "professional handler shows". While we totally appreciate and support people using handlers and have many handlers as dear friends - we choose to show our own dogs.

The show venue is 15 minutes from our home. We have two young dogs and we thought lets enter them just for schooling purposes since the show is so close. We entered Drew on Friday and Saturday. Monet was entered on Sunday.

On Friday Drew went Winners Dog. Saturday he was dumped though he showed his little 15 month old heart out. On Sunday Monet went Winners Bitch. Hum - and we didn't want to show there because we were so certain we wouldn't do well. Goes to "show" - never say never. Thank you to the judges for finding our youngsters.

If you want to see more of my dog show photos please go to my website - and from the main gallery page scroll down to the bottom and click on Dog Show Photos or click on this hot link.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Irish Setter Painting "Classic Country"

This is the first piece in my new series - the "Country" series. My goal is to come out with a new painting in this series once a year for the next three or four years.

Each year I come out with a new painting that is put into print to be released at the Irish Setter Club of America National Specialty. The painting always has some commonality with the show venue. This year the show is back east so the setting for the painting is the Amish area with a horse drawn antique wagon.

The puppies in the painting came from all over the Country. Some are from the West, one from the North and some from the good ole' South. The main dog in the painting had over 300 photos taken of her to find the exact pose that would make her look like she was laying on the wagon seat. People sent me wagon photos from all over the Country as well. The wooden boxes were derived from photographing a wooden box used by a friend's uncle who was in the Navy. The box was for his personal belongings in the late 1800's early 1900's. The painting was a year in the making. The name "Classic Country" defines what I wanted to achieve with the painting - a country theme with old time country equipment and puppies just playing in a field.

This original painting is sold. Prints are available on my website or by calling my studio at 866-393-7111.

If you are interested in commissioning a painting there is a page on my website concerning commissions. Calls are always welcome on my toll-free studio line.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

German Shepherd Dog - Parker

This is Parker and she was a German Shepherd Dog. Parker passed away three years ago. I understand Parker was a wonderful and loving dog. Her best friend was a pug named Pugsley.

When Parker's owners came to view her portrait at the gallery they had tears in their eyes. They expressed how surprised they were that I could capture so much detail from the photos they had. Many times people don't take photos of their pets with regularity. When they decided to have Parker's portrait painted they found they had very few photos of Parker and none that were what we were looking for as far as ideal photo reference material. Right before I started the painting they found a photo, long forgotten, that turned out to be the perfect reference. The photo was small and old - but valuable!

Monarch butterflies have great significance to Parker's owners so I put a Monarch in the painting at their request.

Sure wish I could have met Parker.
To see a larger image of her painting please go to my website at

Thanks for taking a peek at my work!