Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Doberman Pastel Painting

This painting is 17" x 27" and features Kayla - a new champion. Kayla's owners have each of their Doberman's painting when the dogs finish their American Kennel Club (AKC) Championship. As a fun addition to the painting, an AKC ribbon is placed in the painting along with the dog.

I had met Kayla's owners at a dog show where she was not present. Traveling to Northern California allowed me to meet up with the owners and Kayla and be able to photograph Kayla in person. She was an awesome model and I obtained some wonderful reference material from our photo shoot.

The ribbon is a ribbon one of my dogs had won. So, I had a real life ribbon to paint from - an added plus.

Thank you to Kayla's owners for choosing me to paint their beautiful girl!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from Jewel

This is our girl Jewel. She will be 13 years old next month. Jewel has been my model in so many paintings since she was a pup.

To say I love this dog is an understatement.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Large Oil Painting in Process

I've been working on this painting all year - a little bit at a time. It is still not done. There are a few little things that I'd like to adjust. The sides need to be painted and finally, when dry, it should be varnished. Between commissions I'll take a few hours here or there and work on this painting. It has been a fun progress.

My first oil painting commission was to my high school principal. It is fun to take a little time and do something for our house. I hope to have it done by the time of the 2012 National and bring it with me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Camping at Laguna Beach

We decided to take out dogs and go to the beach for a few days. I took a few paintings with me that are works in progress. It has been so nice and quiet to work down here. tonight we had an absolutely gorgeous sunset. We took a walk down to the beach on Friday and found there was a pod of Dolphin about ten feet off shore. Some other beach goers said they were mating. It was very interesting to watch. They kept a very leisurely pace and going in large circles. Not sure what they were doing, but it was a fabulous opportunity to see them so up and close. We had a great time at the beach, was able to paint very long hours without the usual distractions, had fun with the dogs, and wished we could have spent more time there!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Drew's 1st JH Leg

Drew earned his first leg towards his Junior Hunter title today. My husband, Rich, has been working with Drew.

It was the first time out for both the boys. Drew had a wonderful score and some very complimentary words from the judge on his hunting ability. Good job Rich!!

There are a few more pictures from today on our website at click on Drew's page.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bull Mastiff Pastel Painting

I just finished this mini painting of a Bull Mastiff. The owners did not have any great photos of the dog - so I pulled my cell phone out and took a photo with my cell phone. The delay on the phone camera is so long that the photo came out a tad blurry due to the dog moving. The painting image (not including the frame) measures 5" x 7".

To see more of my dog paintings go to my website at

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Black Dog Oil Painting Finished

The Black Dog oil painting is finished! It has been drying for a number of weeks and then varnished which required additional drying time.

As I write this the painting is being shipped cross country to the corporate collector. Can't wait to hear their response when the painting is received.

The painting measures two feet by three feet. Love doing the larger than life oil paintings. Check back - a larger than life oil painting of an Irish Setter is drying and waiting to be varnished. Will post photos soon.

Black Dog Oil Painting in Process

The painting is coming along nicely. If you'll scroll down through my posts you will be able to see more photos of this painting in process.

Irish Setter - A painting of Sully

This painting is of a dog named Sully. He was a gorgeous dog and had a wonderful personality. I had the pleasure of being in the show ring with him many times as I showed my Irish Setter, Jewel, at the time he was being shown.

Sully is no longer with us - but he will be in our hearts and memories forever.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Irish Setter Pastel Painting

This is an original pastel painting of Autumn, Ch. Summit Rise Thyme in a Bottle, CD.

Autumn's owners had sent a number of photos of Autumn for the portrait. There just wasn't the perfect photo. Then, all of a sudden, there were two photos that were just great. The perspectives were correct, the expression of the dog was soft, there were some nice highlights and shadows, the reference material was ideal. We all agreed which photo would be the primary reference pose and the painting was started. In the two photos shown above, the photos were taken in such a way that I couldn't see the length of Autumn's ears. Fortunately, there were other reference photos that gave me the details that were missing from the primary photos.

I've added some green highlights through out the portrait ( such as in the coat, the nose, the eyes and eye lids) to create a color harmony with the background. I always emphasis to my collectors, it is important to realize my goal is not to simply copy a photo. That would be too easy. My goal is to create an original painting based on the likeness of a given animal. I make changes in lights, in darks, in detail around the facial features such as the eyes, nose and mouth. Part of Autumn's bottom lip showed in the reference photo. That was not needed in the painting. There are a number of reflections in both eyes that are not in the photos. There are colors in the nose that are not in the photos. Photos are simply a road map to keep me on track so my paintings capture the likeness of a specific subject. The creativity starts with the photo but ends with my imagination.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Black Dog Oil Painting photo 3

This painting is coming along. The 2' x 3' canvas is fun to work on. It is so much fun to paint the larger than life oils.

Once the black paint (that reinforced the initial sketch) had dried a layer of semi-translucent burnt sienna was put all over the entire canvas.

The white hair was laid in first as the black hair will eventually be layered over that. Slow process with drying time - but is coming along nicely.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Autumn Splendor

This is the first painting in my newest series, the Seasons Series. It is the "fall" season. There were several background photos used for the painting taken at different times in the year.

For the painting to really have the feel of fall and for color harmony in the painting, a great deal of warm reds and yellows were incorporated into the background that were not in the reference photos.

The model for this painting I had met several times over the years and is a Best In Show winner. When in Wisconsin a few years ago his owner had commissioned me to paint his portrait. During the photo session, something in the pine trees caught his attention and he swung his head around to look at the distraction. One thing led to another and this painting, Autumn Splendor came to be. Prints are for sale on my website at

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

BEST IN SHOW - Great Dane Painting

"A Great Moment" was awarded BEST IN SHOW at the Irving Art Association 2011 3rd National Unconditional Love Juried Pet Show. The exhibit runs through September 2011.

Prints of the painting are available on my website at

Thanks for taking a peek!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Black Dog Oil Painting in Process

Here is the painting in process. I've used black oil paint to block in my sketch before I do the complete underpainting. Now to wait for the black paint to dry......

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Large Oil Painting's Beginning Sketch

This sketch was done a number of weeks ago. I sat down on my studio floor with the photo on my lap top and created the sketch. This is the beginning of a two foot x three foot oil painting for a commercial account. The dog looks to be an Akita. Can't wait to get my brushes out!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Remembering 911

On Sunday, September 11th, 2011, an American flag should be displayed outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States . Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this tenth anniversary of one our country's worst tragedies. We do this honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds.
Action Plan:So, here's what we need you to do ...(1) Forward this email to everyone you know (at least 11 people). Please don't be the one to break this chain. Take a moment to think back to how you felt on 9/11 and let those sentiments guide you.(2) Fly an American flag of any size on 9/11. Honestly, Americans should fly the flag year-round, but if you don't, then at least make it a priority on this day.
Thank you for your participation. God Bless You and God Bless America

Friday, August 19, 2011

Newfie painting almost finished

This painting is of D'arcy. She was an awesome girl and I was so happy to have been able to meet her. She just wasn't with us long enough. For her painting, her human parents wanted to use this photo of her with her toy as the reference pose. We had taken quite a lot of photos of her. The toy photo just tugged at their hearts.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Giant paw prints

I am helping some friends with decorations at their business They need some giant six foot paw prints on metal. I drew the prints (Monet, my dog, is sitting along side as a size reference). They will have the paw prints cut out and then powder coated. Can't wait to see the final product!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Newfoundland Pastel Painting

This painting was recently completed. The upper image is the completed painting. The lower image is one of the reference photos used for the painting.

Since Newfoundlands are water dogs, it was decided to have a water scene as the background. The dog's owners live in Southern California so I used some reference photos of surf I'd taken from Laguna Beach several years prior.

The dog's right eye was partially obscured by her coat. In the painting, I cleaned that area up a bit so both eyes were clearly visible. The bright morning light shown too much on her coat casting a silver look. Thus, the photos neglected to reflect her deep black coat. In her painting, the color of the coat is more accurate.

If you are interested in having me paint your dog please call or send me an email. 909-393-7111 or

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brown Pelican - Original Painting

I recently finished this painting of Brown Pelican. The reference photos were taken on the Santa Barbara, California pier. We had our dog, Bailey, with us. That photo is bittersweet as we lost Bailey several years ago at almost age 13. He was such a great dog.

The painting is on Wallis Sanded pastel paper. I started with an under painting of lightly laid pastel which was then brushed over with terpenoid to cover the entire surface of the Wallis. Almost all my paintings, oil or pastel, have an under painting or colored surface to start out with.

Birds always fascinate me and I love painting them. This painting measures 9" x 12" without the frame and is available for purchase. If interested in it, please email me at

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A link to the blog Featuring Artist: Dawn Secord

My work was featured in the blog for writers, "1st Turning Point." To read the article please click on the link below! Thanks for reading.

Featured Artist: Dawn Secord

Monday, July 18, 2011

Laguna Beach, California

My husband and I were in Laguna Beach last month and we took some fun photos around the Montage Resort. This painting titled, "Laguna Beach Palms" is a result of that outing.

Laguna is such a beautiful place. Wish this view was from my window. Alas, it is not!

The painting is for sale. If interested please email me at

Monday, June 27, 2011

Work day but kinda play day

I've been painting some beach scenes with dogs and wanted some more beach / ocean reference material. In addition, I needed some beach scenes for some future landscape paintings.

Yesterday was an absolutely perfect beach day. So, my husband and I packed up a picnic lunch, my camera and Faith (our youngest dog) and headed to the beach.

One of the beach cities we visited was actually having an art competition and had artists set up with paintings in a formal art fair environment. We had a blast. Faith was a big hit and gave lots of kisses. The beach photos I took for reference material were awesome. What a great day! Southern California - can't beat the weather!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Boston Terrier Painting

This is Sophie Rae and she lives in Atlanta. When her owner sent me the reference photo, I was so excited . Her face was very sweet and the pose in the photo was unique and really drew you into her eye.

A few changes were needed to be made when creating the portrait in comparison to the photo. (I always tell people I don't recreate your photo. Your photo is simply reference material to be used in creating the painting.)

Her left ear needed to be downplayed since the perspective in the photo was exaggerated. She had pulled her right lip up which affected the front of her mouth and a part of her left side of her mouth. In the painting there are more highlights in her eye than the photo shows. That is the fun part of painting - the artist makes the rules and creates what works. There are no limits other than our imagination.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Labrador Retriever Painting - Reference Photo

This is Buzz, a yellow labrador retriever. He had been a dog in rescue and his foster parents found they couldn't part with him. We took Buzz to a dog beach in Southern California so I could take reference photos. There is so much energy and fun to this photo, Collectively, his owners and I thought this would be the perfect photo to use as reference for his portrait. There are a few changes that would need to be made. His painting would not have his collar on. There is a funny roll on his shoulder that I would not include in the painting and most importantly, his owner wanted to see more of his right rear leg. We were throwing a doggie floatation toy around on the beach which is what he is looking at.

Labrador Retriever Painting in Process

The painting is well underway. Notice I've brought the right rear leg back so it is more visible in the painting compared to the photograph. The dog has been painted and I've added a tennis ball for fun. The dog's photo had the dog looking at a toy that had been tossed into the surf. As a dog owner, one of the favorite toys of my dogs is a tennis ball. The addition of the ball would answer the viewer's question - what is the dog looking at. A tennis ball floats and is commonly used as a toy for dogs playing in the water. In the past, when painting in pastel, I worked from left to right. Lately I've changed that direction. I like to get my subject finished before the background is started. Using a colored surface as my under-painting, this method is bringing me more in line with my oil paintings.

Labrador Painting in Process

The base coat for the water has been painted. Next, I've started adding a wave to lead the viewer's eye directly to the dog. To get a straight horizon line I mark it off with a piece of acid free artist's tape. The tape will be removed to put the sky. The edge of the horizon will be softened between the water and the water. This will be accomplished by using a harder brand of pastels and glazing across the surface of the painting.

Labrador Painting in Process

The painting of Buzz is coming along. The water is almost finished. I'll add some highlights and darks/lights on the entire painting once all the different areas are finished. That is my favorite part - standing back and seeing where the final changes are needed. At this point I return to my really hard pastels and drag them across the areas that need to be softened. The more softer brands of pastel are used to bring the lightest lights to the water and clouds.

Labrador Portrait Finished

Here is the final painting of Buzz. Hope you like it. Thank you to the Buzz's parents for having me paint him. He is a sweetie!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Irish Setter Club of Southern California Specialty

Our dog club (Irish Setter Club of Southern California) had its 100th Specialty Show this past weekend on June 4, 2011. It was a beautiful day in a very nice park. Our puppy, Faith (Jamond Wings of Glory at Rendition), won Best in Sweepstakes under judge Dr. Gary Brown, DVM. We were thrilled. Here are some pictures my husband took ringside. Thanks Rich!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Borzoi International Summer 2011

Borzoi International Summer 2011
My work is on the cover of "Borzoi International" an on line publication. In addition to being on the cover, my work is included in a six page feature story within the magazine. Thank you to Borzoi International for featuring my work!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Our dogs like to share.

This crate is always set up in my office for Jewel. Monet snuck in there when Jewel left the room, Then Faith tried to fit in with Monet. She didn't quite make it!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Irish Setter Puppy Painting

This painting was just finished yesterday. A few years ago a friend sent me a photo of this sleeping pup. I asked her if I could use it for a painting and she agreed. Sometimes photos are taken out of perspective. The reference photo for this painting was perfect.

It is a mini painting and the frame was made by a friend of mine in back East. He does amazing things with wood. I love that the frame is hand made right here in America.

Hope you enjoy viewing the painting as much as I did painting it!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Borzoi Commission Completed

Primary Reference Photos Side by Side
Additional Reference Photo Finished Painting
This portrait is of three Borzoi who live in Norway. Their owner is a fabulous photographer and to my good fortune, was able to supply amazing reference material for the painting.

The dog on the left is the dam followed by her daughter and her son. One of the reference photos had the mother and the daughter. Another photo had the son. In his primary reference photo the lighting was different than in the photo of the mother and his sister. An additional photo (second photo of him) had lighting that was consistent with the photo of the girls.

That third photo was my reference to change the lighting in the painting to be consistent with the photo of the mother and the daughter. The third photo had the dog looking an entirely different color than the first. After looking at many photos of him, it was clear this third photo was not consistent with the coloring of the others. Tiny obstacles!

It is funny how your eyes can play tricks on you. After some trial and error, all came together and there is the consistency of lighting I strove to achieve on all three subjects.

Thank you for taking a peek!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Oil Painting Finished.

This is a painting that I just finished and is drying. The above photos show the process that my paintings go through.

I always start with a sketch. If it is an oil painting, I secure the sketch with black oil paint. Then I glaze a neutral color over the entire canvas. With this painting the base coat is in burnt sienna.

Then colors are layered gradually allowing for drying time between each layer. During the painting process the painting may be rotated upside down or sideways to allow ease of painting the fur etc.

Thanks for taking a peek!