Friday, December 31, 2010

Hiking with Four Dogs

Every Friday one of my girlfriend's and I get together for coffee. We each usually bring a dog or two,

Today we each showed up with two dogs. One of her dogs is a ten month old Aussie Shepherd. I had two year old Drew and twenty week old Faith. Hum...three young dogs is a mixture for disaster.

They were trying to play with each other instead of walking. At some point I tried to take a photo with my cell phone while holding two attached.

The end result was no wiped out dog walkers and four tired puppy dogs.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Secord dogs

I was training our puppy, Faith, in our bathroom using treats. The bathroom is sectioned off from the dogs because our cat box is in there. For those of you who own both dogs and further explanation is needed.

So, before bedtime Faith goes in the with me and plays. For pups, I use a lot of food rewards when training (which we will graduate away from as they get older). Love and cuddles are are great training tool for the older ones. We had an audience during our training don't cha think!! ha ha

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Miniature Schnauzer

This little girl is a Miniature Schnauzer and her portrait was a Christmas present. The recipients were very surprised when given the painting. They said it looked just like her and they could not believe how realistic the painting is.

If you are interested in commissioning a portrait of a dog as a gift, I do have gift certificates available. For more information on commissioning a portrait please click here:

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rich and baby Faith

Rich and I decided to get Faith and have her be our Christmas present to each other. Do you think my husband likes his present?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

jewel and monet

Jewel and Monet had a very busy Christmas day. Like most of us...they are exhausted!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas!!

This model is our new puppy, Faith. She turned 18 weeks old yesterday. We've been working on "stay" and "wait" for her modeling career. My dogs are used for models for my paintings and it is never too early to start teaching them.

I put Faith under the tree with no decorations and no ribbon on her and told her to "wait". It took just a few tries to get the idea into her baby mind. Then I put the gifts around the tree and the bow around her neck.

All was going well until our young cat, Lacey, decided to get under the tree while we were taking photos. I took over 100 photos and Faith got up only twice (once enticed by the tricky feline).

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tuxedo Kittens in Oil

This larger than life painting of two tuxedo kittens was done in oil. It is another piece for the corporate commission that I am working on.

The painting is three feet wide by two feet tall. A number of photos of the two kittens were supplied by the collector. One kitten has a narrower face as in a Siamese and the other kitten has a round face. The markings are very close so I relied on the face shape to assist me in keeping track of which kitten was in each photo. Ultimately, I chose two poses that were from two different photos.

My initial sketch was in pencil. If you notice the eyes on the sketch and look at the final painting - there was some adjustment done to the eye shape during the painting process. I sometimes flip my paintings upside down during the process to double check details. It was during one of these "upside down" times that I noticed the eye shape was not what I wanted it to be. One nice thing about painting in oil is the ability to change just about anything during the course of the painting. Pastels are not quite so user friendly!

Thanks for taking a peek at the kittens!

It was a lot of fun to paint.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Texas Boathouse

This is the final painting in the landscape series I've been working on. It is the boat house at Eagle's Nest Preserve in North Texas. The painting is to be a gift for my dearest friend's parents.

The interesting part of the painting was the current in the water around the boathouse. If you look across the lake you'll notice the water is still. I could have changed the painting and had all the water still and reflective - but the movement of the water was one of the things that made this reference material so interesting.

The painting started with a colorful under painting of pastel glazed with turpenoid. The turpenoid allowed the pastel to become liquid much like I have done with acrylic and watercolor under paintings. Once the under painting dried the layering of pastel began working from top to bottom.
The pastel under painting included the use of salmon hues in some areas, blues, purples and greens. The goal was to have some of the under painting shine through the finished painting in key locations. In some areas I wanted a complimentary color to show - such as salmon under green. In other areas I used deep purple under the foliage and water to create a feeling of depth. There was to be a lot of green reflections in the water so I chose to have a green under painting for the water.

Thank you for taking a peek!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Yellow Labrador Retriever

This is the second painting of Syrah. The first painting showed her as a young dog in a meadow surrounded by brilliant purple blooms.

In this painting the owners wanted to reflect Syrah as she is today - 14 years old. We took a volume of photos of her. We photographed her in her home in several rooms, outside in the front yard, on the side yard under the arbor and the cherry tree blossoms, in the backyard on a chaise lounge. There was one photo that was precious to her owner and it was a photo taken at a down angle. (this was a private photo taken by the owners)

We all went back and forth discussing what photo would best capture Syrah at this point in time. The background of the painting was definitely going to be the arbor and the cherry blossoms. That simple fact knocked out the favorite photo taken by her owners looking down on Syrah (which is used as her computer screen saver).

The final decision was to use all the photos. I had taken a photo of Syrah laying under the dining room table with her woobie toy as a pillow. The angle would work for the cherry blossom background. The favored "screen saver" photo would be used to adjust the chiseling on her face and capture the her beautiful. Working with her owners to accomplish this painting was a joy and we are all very happy with the results.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Irish Setter Painting "Sweet Dreams"

The limited edition for my painting, "Sweet Dreams", is getting very close to being sold out.

For Christmas this year, we are offering free shipping on in-stock artwork if ordered by December 15, 2010 and shipped within the continental USA.

On a fun note, "Sweet Dreams" has been added to my cafepress store. The artwork is featured on gift items such as clothing items, cups and bags.

To order limited edition prints click here: Http://

To go to my cafepress store click here: Http://

Monday, October 25, 2010

Labrador Painting is Finished

I've spent some time on this painting. The art collector commissioned two portraits of their Labrador Retriever. The first painting (seen here) features the dog in its adolescence. The second portrait will feature the dog as she is currently at 14 years of age.

The background of this painting is a meadow behind their home. In the reference photo the skyline is almost nonexistent with a slight splash of blue clouds in one small corner. Also, the meadow is laden with the beautiful blooms shown in the painting. However, the blooms were minimized in the painting. The bright color of the blooms combined with the thick blanket of them in the reference photo somewhat stole the show from the dog.

To ensure the dog was the focal point, the blossoms were minimized. The skyline was also greatly increased with a change in direction to draw the view into the focal point.
Gift items with an image of this painting are on my cafepress store at

Now off to wrap the painting for delivery and finish portrait number 2.

Friday, October 15, 2010

English Springer Spaniel

I'm trying to constantly add new images of my art to the Dawn Secord cafepress store before we get to the holidays.

Today the English Springer Spaniel was added to the store and will be available on a number of gift items.

To see the gift items available go to

Check back now and then to see what new images of my artwork are available.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Monet!

Today is Monet's 4th birthday. We are going to take her to the pet store and let her get a new toy. She wants to drive there....ha ha.

Where did the time go....and hopefully, going forward, it slows down a bit.

Labrador Retriever Painting in process

I've been working on this painting for a number of days now - long days (not an hour here or there - more like 10 hours a day. My arm is sore and my eye hurts.... goes along with the territory)

The reference photo is an old photo that was taken on a very sunny morning. As a result one side of the dog's face is too shadowed and the other side is almost whited out. So, my quest is to balance the lighting while maintaining the wonderful effects the light has created with the shadows.

On the right side of the dog's face I've reduced the shadows and brought the eye more into view. On the left side of the dog's face (the right side of the painting) I've found the bone structure of the dog and brought in slight shadows. These shadows will give the dog's face depth and roundness instead of a flat light area.

I've also eliminated the collar. Some people prefer the collars be left on their dogs in my paintings. That is a personal choice - no wrong or right answer. In this particular painting the dog's owners wanted the collar off.

Will post more as the painting develops.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tabby Cat Commission

This is a painting of Oliver. Oliver was a very special kitty and loved by a wonderful family. Life throws us some tough situations and sadly, Oliver was lost to cancer at a very young age.

His family had a very tough loss shortly before Oliver passed. Sometimes, when we hear of the tough roads of others we realize our problems are so minor.

Sending Oliver's human mom a big hug and keeping her in our prayers.

Thank you for the honor of commissioning me to paint Oliver.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Irish Setter Painting "Celtic Charm"

This is my newest release in Irish Setter Art. The painting background was created from a photo I had taken in 2009 during a cross country trip. If you really want to see our great Country - the best way to see it and meet the people is by driving.

The original painting is unavailable. The prints are in a limited edition of 195. There are 19 artist proofs. The reproductions are professionally printed, are museum quality, and are signed and numbered. To purchase the prints you may call me or email me. For Pay Pal users, there are Pay Pal buttons set up on my web site for purchasing on line. Please click here:
Have a great day!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Corporate Commission

Finishing up on corporate commission. Its been a while since I've done such a large oil painting. We moved our birds to another area of the house and are venting the house for the fumes. Next oil painting will be done outside on the patio! It was fun.

Back to the pastels today to do a commission of a kitty that lost it's life way to early to cancer.

To see more pictures of this painting in process please go to my facebook page at:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


This Borzoi commission is recently completed. There is a very special story behind the painting of two people meeting inter-continentally (USA and Norway) because of their dogs.

The dogs, all Borzoi, have allowed these wonderful people to connect in a way that just brings tears to my ears. The woman, middle aged, met the man, a senior, and immediately had a connection that reminded her of her father.

The man, a senior, has a new "family" member who loves him and extends a long distance friendship of compassion and interaction. It seems, too often, we forget about relationships with people.

It has been said when people are asked what they would have done differently with their lives they would have spent more time with their loved ones. The greatest gift we can give is of our time and in this story the people involved are giving each other their time. all started with their love of dogs.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

El Mirador Estate - Montecito, California

Here is a plein air painting done on location at the El Mirador Estate in Montecito, California. The estate is absolutely breathtaking and it was quite a thrill to be allowed on the grounds. It was a difficult choice picking the location in the Estate to paint as the grounds were extensive.

This painting is currently on exhibit and for sale. The exhibit will be at the gallery through October 16, 2010. The painting measures approximately 7" x 11" for the image - not including the frame. The framing is professionally done by the gallery. The painting is $425.00.
If you are interested please drop me an email:

Thanks for taking a peek at my work.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Sonoma Summer" Original Pastel Painting

This painting was rendered in soft pastels (one of my two favorite mediums). My husband and I were recently in Napa, California specifically to photograph vineyards for paintings. This painting was created from photos taken in Sonoma.

The painting will be in an exhibit for mini paintings opening tomorrow in California. All paintings must be 8" x 10" or smaller. This framed painting is approximately 8" x 8" with a professional frame. The painting is available (pending sales at the gallery that I am unaware of) for $325.00.

My cat, Cash, was very jealous of me looking at photos while painting that were on my computer screen. So the little bugger sat behind the screen giving me the "eye". Was tempted to put him in the painting!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Abyssinian Cat Portrait

The portrait of Cinder is complete! He is 12 years old and was a joy to meet. He tried to be really brave with the camera when I was taking photos of him.

It is always so heart warming to paint some one's special pet for them. I hope this painting gives many years of enjoyment to Cinder's family.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Drew and Carrots

I was writing a story about my dogs for my September newsletter that goes out to art collectors and friends. The story was about our dogs and carrots. So, it seemed like the appropriate move to take Drew outside and pose him with a carrot in his mouth.

At first he looked at me like... "you have to be kidding me!" I put the carrot in his mouth and gently told him "hold it". And he did. Then a cat came by hunting lizards - he held the carrot. Then I moved him to a second location for better lighting...and he held the carrot.

Finally, I moved him to a sunny area by a hedge and asked him to hold the carrot....which he did for about 10 shots. He then ate the carrot. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. Drew is a little charm. Let me know if you want to see my newsletter and I can forward it to you. Take care - enjoy those carrots!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"A Great Moment" Great Dane

The Great Dane painting is finished. I switched things up a bit. Usually, with pastel paintings, I work from left to right so my hand doesn't interfere with anything I've already laid down.

The background is started first and finished last. However, with this piece, I painted the subject first and then decided upon the background.

Originally, the background was going to be an a prestigious entrance to an estate. Hours were spent photographing entries of beautiful homes for this purpose. I have the most amazing carriage house type entrance from Rhode Island that was considered along with the latest photos taken.

In the end, simplicity won out. The background is a quiet antique"ish" feeling of an old landscape painting. I hope you enjoy viewing "A Great Moment" as much as I enjoyed painting it!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bob and Billie

This is a commission of two mixed breed dogs - Bob and Billie. I met their owners at a show over a year ago. To my surprise, I went to the post office one day and found an album of photos and a request to paint their dogs.

Many months later my husband and I were at a dog show in their area. We decided they should bring Bob and Billie over to the show grounds so we could meet the dogs in person and I could take additional reference photos.

It was a thrill to meet the dogs and spend time with their owners. They had a previous commission done of a dog since passed. In that painting were daffodils. So, to tie the paintings together it was requested that daffodils be in Bob and Billie's painting too.

Thanks so much for the honor of painting your dogs!

Simon's Cat in 'The Box'

Thanks Victoria for finding another great U-Tube video!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Irish Setter in Wicker

This is a commission where everything had been furnished to me. The collector had a wonderful photo of a beautiful dog laying on light colored furniture. On top of all that, I was able to meet the dog in person and take additional reference photos. A very good start!

The pillows on the wicker chair were a bit faded. So, in the painting I added some color and actually an additional pillow. That is one of the nice things about fine art, we are only limited by our imagination.

The photo was also taken on a porch and the foliage in the painting was not there. This is another change made to the painting that was not in the reference photo.

There are gift products on my cafepress store that feature this painting.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monet and the new fish tank

When we were traveling back in the midwest in June, Monet learned to hunt "critters". Now that we are back home in Southern California things have been a bit boring for her.

Last week, we pulled our fish tank out of the garage. It has been sitting in there for about five years. Monet - who is three - has not seen this in our house.

To our surprise, Monet LOVES the tank. She is always in the kitchen "window shopping" at the tank. It is pretty hilarious. Daily, I'm cleaning nose marks off the outside of the tank.
When I go to the pet store to get a new fish or two, Monet goes with me. She is fascinated with all the tanks. Of course, she is slobbering all over them as she attempts to go fishing. When the attendants look away I quickly grab my sleeve and wipe any slobber off the glass eradicating the evidence of fishing with no license.

Monet has no limits when it comes to hunting!! She is such a fun dog.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Yorkshire Terrier - Max

This painting of Max is a birthday present for my mother. Growing up we had schnauzers and yorkies for the most part (and a Shepherd mix that was dumped by our house in the country that I kept in my bedroom in the barn). In Texas, what 14 year old girl doesn't want to live in the barn with her horse?? Thanks mom for that fun experience.

Max was part of our family for 14 years. He was rescued from an abusive situation by my brother's best friend. Max was living with his 12 week old sister outside in a dog house - in Texas. Now those of you that know North Texas know that is no place for baby yorkies. The temperatures at night can get to below freezing. The horrific part is one of the family members that owned the two pups was kicking them. The sister had perished and my brother's friend snuck over the fence in the dark of night and rescued baby Max from the abusive situation.

Max was brought to my mom in the nick of time. My mother took him immediately to the veterinarian. Max was in bad shape. Nothing was broken, however the veterinarian informed my mother that Max would have survived perhaps a few more hours without medical attention.

Max lived a full life and enjoyed living with two female yorkies, my collie and then my three Irish Setters. He peed on my sofa once and my mom blamed it on my Irish peed higher than two inches! You be the judge!
This image of Max is available on gift items at my CafePress store at

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Irish Setter Portrait

I just finished this portrait of Katie and Rowan - Irish Setters. Their owner commissioned me to do the painting last year. We were able to meet up in Wisconsin in June where I photographed the dogs and spent some time with them.

The moment I walked into their hotel room and looked at Rowan I said, "That is a Hoolie pup!". Turns out that Rowan is a Hoolie grandson as is my young male, Drew. Both boys are 2 years old - give or take a few Months. When I was painting Rowan my husband walked in my studio and said with a question in his voice, "Why are you painting Drew?" Hoolie can sure put his stamp on his get.

It was a pleasure to paint Rowan and Katie. It will be hard for me to ship the painting off, and then again, what's new? It is always a bit hard for me when my paintings leave!

If you are considering having a painting done of your dogs, please go to my website and click on commission information or email me at

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I have images of two Borzoi on CafePress at this time. Hope you enjoy the work. Will be fun to watch and see if the store does well. As the saying goes...."nothing ventured nothing gained.
If you have a favorite painting of mine that you would like to see offered on gift items at CafePress please email me and let me know. There are some images that I have other plans for and won't be available. However, many of my images would be perfect there. Let me know your me at
Click here to go to my cafe press store:

Click here to go to my website to see more of my artwork:

If you are interested in commissioning a portrait please email me or go to my website for more information.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Shetland Sheepdog on CafePress

I've finally got my store open on CafePress where select pieces of art will be offered on gift items and clothing. This is a test. If it proves to offer those interested in my art an opportunity to collect art on a gift item, I'll continue the store. If it does not then I'll close the store.

Check back as I intend to offer more art in the next few weeks/months on this site.

To go to my store follow this link:
If interested in commissioning me to paint your pet - please contact/email me at

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Golden Retriever Puppy

This is another one of my mini paintings. The subject is a young golden retriever pup. He is probably about 12 or so weeks old.

When I was photographing him he was romping around as any pup should. Then he ran out of steam and fell asleep in the middle of the floor. Who couldn't enjoy spending time with such an adorable subject.

Check on my blog for videos of me working on this painting.

If you are interested in me doing a mini portrait please feel free to email me for information. My email address is

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Irish Setter Print "Generations"

Here is my "surprise" release for the ISCA National. "Generations" was a commissioned painting. The painting features three direct generations of Irish Setters. When I was looking at the senior Irish I kept thinking to myself, "boy does that dog look familiar!!" So, I asked the owner what the blood line was on the dog. To my surprise she is the 1/2 sister to my dog, Jewel. I KNEW that dog looked familiar!!

When I started showing the painting to Irish Setter breeders many asked me to put the piece into print.

I discussed the possibility with the dogs' owner and she was very excited about the prospect. My prints are planned 18 months plus or minus in advance. The question was - do I come out with this print in December of 2011 or should I just release it now. The "now" vote won.

Thank you to all involved for your encouragement.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dodge City, Kansas

On the last leg of our trip from the ISCA National we stopped in Dodge City, Kansas. We were expecting to walk into a blast from the past and see a piece of history. While that is not what happened unfortunately, we did find one treasure.

This is the Mueller Schmidt House. It was built in 1881. I walked in the home/museum to find a tour in process which was quite a treat. The house is one of the few structures still standing in its original location. It is the only native limestone home remaining in Dodge City. The house was built to be one of the most prestigious homes in Dodge at that time. It still sits atop a hill - but now surrounded by modern homes.

Here are some trivia items that were quite interesting. Much of the furniture build during that era was black walnut. The Mueller Schmidt house was filled with furniture very much like our antique pieces. We were never quite sure what type of wood was used. The Mueller Schmidt house had three closets opposed to armours. Back in that era, houses were taxed by number of rooms with six foot doors. So, to avoid taxation, most homes had no closets. To have a closet was a sign of wealth. After eating, tables were reset with all the dishes facing upside down. This was to keep flies and germs off the dishes in an effort to combat tuberculosis. Newsprint was used to line cabinet shelves for the same reason - combating tuberculosis. Arsenic was used in newsprint which in turn would be toxic to bugs. When newspaper publishers started dying from arsenic poisoning the use of arsenic in newsprint was discontinued. With fur hats, mercury was used to combat bugs for the same reason - disease control. When people started going insane - i.e. "Mad Hatters" the use of mercury was discontinued.

The tour guide was a wealth of information and I wish we could have spent more time in Dodge City. It was windy there and very little to allow us to relive history in an authentic way. New meaning comes to light for the saying, "Get the Heck out of Dodge" which we did quickly!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hotel Dogs

Monet enjoying the hotel room.
Jewel has found a great place to rest....hum....that looks like my pillow!

Hopefully, this is our last night in a hotel. We are in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The drive home tomorrow is an estimated 13 hours. There are no sight seeing adventures planned so we should be on schedule.

Looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and seeing our pets that didn't travel with us.

I'll post today adventure photos from Dodge City on Saturday. It was a fun place to visit....however.....we understand the saying, "Get the Heck Outta Dodge!"