Thursday, October 4, 2012

Irish Setter Flag

The new flags are in.   We are really excited with them.  They measure 2' x 3' and the cost is $25.00.

If you want to purchase one, go to my website at

The name of my painting shown on the flag is "Rockets Red Glare".

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Who will win?

My dog, Drew, has been very frisky after breakfast lately.    He kept passing me by taunting me with his toy.

Naturally, I feigned interest in his prize.

Finally, I took hold of it - and he gave me the look.   So, who won?   Drew did of course.   Who could resist that face????

Monday, September 17, 2012

Irish Setter Art on Outside Flags

go to my website link above if you are interested in purchasing this flag or mini print.

Our New Venture:

This artwork is on actual outside flags!
The flags measure 2’ x 3’...and have an upper hem for the pole as well as two security grommets.
$25.00 plus shipping

New “Mini” Print

5” x 7”
Printed in Full Color
Limited Edition of 195
Available on the website
Framed: $35.00
Unframed: $15.00

Plus shipping on both prints and flags

(sales tax for CA residents)

Thank you to my husband, Rich, for thinking of the flag!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hogan - Larger than Life Oil Painting

This is Hogan.   Recently, a "mini" pastel painting was also created of him.   

Hogan is no longer with us.   As I mentioned in the post about his pastel painting, he was a very special dog and I was fortunate to have spent some time with him over the past few years.

His larger than life oil painting is 3 feet x 4 feet.    These paintings are always great fun to do.   

The attached photos show the process from the beginning to the end.   In the very beginning, a pencil sketch is loosely rendered on the canvas.   At that point, all I am worried about is perspective.  Once the sketch is completed, black oil paint is applied over the sketch to secure the initial drawing.    The purpose for this is to make sure I don't lose my sketch when the under painting is applied.

The under painting is then applied and covers the entire surface of the canvas.   Once that dries, layers of color are applied.   Each painting is different.   Sometimes, I block in the larger dark areas (which was done with this painting).  Sometimes, I just start applying color and don't block in spaces.   It really depends on the lights and darks in the reference photos.

Ample drying time is allowed before the next layer is applied.   This process is continued until I feel the painting is done.   There is no specific time frame in which a painting is completed.  It is done when it feels right.  My biggest concern are the eyes.   It is extremely important that the eyes of my subject draw in the viewer and make a connection. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Saki - A very special dog

This is Saki. She is 11 years old and has been the best friend of a young man for that many years. Two weeks ago this young man went off to college for the first time.

His father had contacted me many many months ago and asked me to paint Saki. His goal was for the portrait to be completed by the time his son went off to college so his son could have the painting of Saki to take with him. What a heart breaking situation.

The painting of Saki is now off at a college somewhere, hopefully reminding a special young man of his very special friend. That young man also has a very special father.

To see more of my paintings, please go to my website at

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hogan - Irish Setter

This is a mini portrait of "Hogan". Finished this pastel painting recently, just haven't had time to post.

Hogan's owner had sent me several photos of him for this mini portrait. There were several photos that were fabulous candidates...
for the painting. In the end, his expression in one photo tugged at her heart and showed his personality. That is the photo we used for this painting.

He was a wonderful dog. I will miss him too. Just wished they were with us longer. My parrot, Jade, was raised by us since she was a hatchling. She is 24 years old now. What we wouldn't give to have our dogs and cats live that long!
To see more of my work, go to my website at

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cirneco dell"Etna

Here is my latest commission.   I've been affectionately referring to the dogs as the "C's".

The Cirneco dell'Etna (plural Cirnechi) is a small breed of dog originally from Sicily. This hound was historically used to hunt rabbits and can work for hours without food or water.[citation needed] The breed also has a keen sense of smell and is primarily built for endurance over harsh terrain such as that of Mount Etna. It is the smallest of the Mediterranean island hunting hounds, the others being the Pharaoh Hounds and Ibizan Hounds.

Today they are increasingly kept for the sport of conformation showing and as pets, due to their low coat maintenance and friendly nature, although as an active hound they do need regular exercise. A Cirneco should measure from 43-51 cm (17-20in) and weigh between 10–12 kg (22-26lb). As with other breeds, those from hunting stock can lie outside these ranges.  Information courtesy of "Wikipedia"

The owner of the dogs gave me a number of photos of the dogs at different stages from puppy to adult.   I stepped out of my box and asked her if I could choose the photos rather than her choosing them.   Since they were all wonderful photos - she gave me that artistic liberty.     It has been a fun journey learning about a new breed.   It is my understanding that the breed has been around since at least 1533.   They are fun little dogs and they appear to have quite adorable temperaments from what I've gleaned from conversations with their owner.    Hope you enjoy the painting!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dillon - Irish Setter

This is Dillon.   I met him last spring when he was still a pup.    He had so much character.   It was going to be fun to paint him!

For his portrait, we wanted him to be a little bit older and look more mature.    His owner wanted a unique portrait and she had taken a number of candid photos of him which she emailed to me over the course of several months.

In looking at her photos, several jumped out.    There was one where he was lounging in a chair and his lip was tucked up.   It was an adorable shot.    Behind the chair was a table and a lamp.   She loved that photo - it was mutual!

For the painting, I wanted some more dark values in the scene and wanted a feeling of depth in the painting.   To achieve this, a window was painted behind the chair in place of the table and lamp.    From another photo I used foliage from his actual yard to be visible through the view in the window.   This allowed the painting to be even more personal to Dillon's family.

Lastly, I changed the chair a bit.    The view of the chair in the painting was a bit unclear and could look a bit flat.   I knew it was a chair, but with so little of the chair showing it was a bit vague.   Changing the chair a bit allowed me to clearly show in the painting that Dillon was laying on that particular type of furniture.    Dillon is a finished champion now.    It is hard to believe when I met him he was a rollicking pup in the Sweepstakes classes.    Thank you to Dillon's owners for having me paint him - he is beautiful inside and out.     Dawn Secord Fine Art

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


This dog's name was Ritz -  CH OTCH Fallon Fancy Put on the Ritz UDX.    He left his family about a year ago.   He lived a long full life and his loss has left a hole in his family's hearts.   Ritz was bred by his owner, her only litter.   He was originally to go to a pet home, but stayed with her as a show pup.   He went on to become a Champion and an OTCH - a once in a lifetime dog.  
While working on the portrait, his owner shared photos of Ritz with me as well as stories.    It is always such a tug at my heart to see how a dog touched the lives of his family members.   At times it is just tears at your heart to hear the role a dog has played in the family all the while knowing they are gone.   It is all too close to home.   We've all lost dogs and we all mourn the loss of our dogs.  No matter how long our dogs are with us, it is never long enough.
When choosing the primary reference photo there was no question.   His owner had a fabulous photo of him sitting in the woods during the wintertime.   In the photo, there were some details in the background that I chose to alter so that the background would not compete with Ritz as the focal point of the painting.     There were some trees and an area of snow that were too light.   At the same time, there were some shadows on the trees that were too dark.   Those "too lights and too darks" were eliminated in the background.    On the bottom right, in the snow shadows, I used an upward movement so that the snow banks would lead the viewer up to Ritz and rest on his image as the focal point.
Thank you to Ritz' family for allowing me to know Ritz through the process of painting his portrait - it was a great honor.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Great Danes

I've been working with the owner of these dogs for some time.    When the painting was first commissioned, the pups were quite young.    We had some adorable puppy photos.   We were working out which photos of the pups would go best with the photo of the dam as reference material for the painting.    Life just seems to fly by and all of a sudden the pups were seven months old.    Sometimes my commission waiting list works out best for all!

The reference photos of the pups were wonderful.    One of the pups had her ear down, so that needed to be corrected.   One of the nice things about paintings - we are not limited by what is in life or photos.   Changes can be made where ever needed or desired.

I love painting Great Danes.   There is such a solid regal beauty to this breed.    Thank you to the owner for choosing me to paint them!

To see more of my work, please go to my website at

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The chicks are ....

The chicks are entering that ugly phase.  They aren't little puffs any more but do not have feathers yet.
I think they are so ugly that they are kinda cute.    Daisy, the white one, is rapidly increasing in size compared to the other three.   Hum,  I hope she isn't a he!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sera - the Borzoi

This is Sera.   She lives in California - but was born in Norway.    She is an amazing dog.   Her owners have plans for her to be a therapy dog.   After meeting her a few times, I can tell you for sure - she will be an exceptional therapy dog.

Her "mom" had me do a painting of her as a birthday present for her "dad".    I'm pretty confident he won't see this or I'd have to wait to post until after he opened the painting!!

To see more of my Borzoi work go to my website at and click on the Borzoi page in the Dog Art Gallery.

There is also some of my Borzoi work on gift items on my CafePress Store.    Http://

Enjoy the photos - you'll be able to see why we all love her so much!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Summer in Sonoma

This painting is titled, "Summer in Sonoma".    The painting has been a long time in the making.  

Every year, I do a new painting to be released at the Irish Setter Club of America National Speciality.    The painting released at this show is always geographically friendly to the location.    For "Summer in Sonoma", my husband and I took a road trip to the wine country of California several years ago.    We went when the grapes were ripening and still on the vines.   I took literally hundreds of photos in Napa, Sonoma and the surrounding areas.

Getting dog models for the painting was a project in and of itself.   I started two years ago organizing the dog photos.   The dogs in the painting were created from four different dogs.    People always ask  me, "Who are the dogs in the photos?"    Sometimes the dog is a specific dog.   More often than not, the dogs are changed so that they are not a specific dog.    With the subjects in this painting, as mentioned, there were four actual dogs used.   I used the head from one, the movement from another, the coat from a third and the body from a fourth.     Creating the ideal dog takes longer than having one model.    Lots of adjustments were needed.

I hope you like it and thank you to all the folks that proofed the painting for me and to those who assisted me with dog photos.

  If you are interested in purchasing a print, please go to my website and click on the "prints for sale" page or click on this link:

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

San Dimas Western Art Festival

My painting, Working Boots, was featured on the program cover for the Western Art exhibit at the San Dimas Western Art Show this past weekend.

It was a blast at the show.   I met some really fantastic artists.   All the work on display at the exhibit was a feast for the eyes.

Did participate in the "Quick Draw" event.    I so did not expect the audience that we had.    Was a bit unnerving, but my piece did sell at auction.    A fun experience that I look forward to doing again.

If you want to see more of my western art - go to my website at  or WESTERN ART BY DAWN SECORD

"Working Boots" is for sale.  If interested, email me for more information:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sloan - an original pastel painting

This is Sloan. I met Sloan's owner a number of years ago and we talked about painting her very special girl, Sloan. Sloan has had quite a show career which includes winning a number of Best in Shows, Best of Breed at Westminster 2011 and Best of Breed at the AKC/Eukanuba Championship 2011. Sloan is now retired and spending some time in the whelping box.

For the painting, a number of photos of Sloan were supplied to me. In the painting, she was to be reclining so a blend of photos was used. For the background of the painting, Sloan was to be resting on a family heirloom - a needlepoint antique love seat. Sloan's owners had some wonderful natural lighting that cast fabulous shadows on the love seat. To have the painting look even more antique"ish", I painted some heavy emerald green velvet draperies hanging behind the love seat. As a final touch, a bouquet of roses was placed next to the love seat. The roses were placed as a prop perfectly by Sloan's owner. They completed a triangular shape of color with Sloan in the center as a focal point. A good composition (or lack thereof) makes or breaks a painting.

The painting is quite large and measures 24" x 36". This painting was such a wonderful journey. Going through the photos of Sloan and the different furniture photos to find the perfect background was magical. Hope you enjoy viewing the painting as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cassie and Star

The portrait of Cassie and Star is finished. I'd taken pictures of them quite a while ago for the portrait.

In the photo of Cassie there are some lights and shadows on her face that were not included in her painting. While sometimes shadows can really enhance a painting, there are times they can take away from it. As an artist, I never "copy" a photograph. The photo is simply a reference tool to help create the painting.

In the photo of Star there were many changes from the photo that were necessary. Right away the direction of her pose was wrong. I wanted her looking into the painting and not out of it. So, in the painting, the direction of Star is with her facing left instead of facing right. In the photo Star was squinting. Using other reference photos to verify the shape of her eye when it was not squinting, I opened her eyes up in the painting. The leash had altered her neck line and created an extra fold of skin along her jaw line. In the painting I smoothed down that fold of skin and painted her neck hanging regularly. I used one of my dogs as a live model to see how the neck would hang without a leash pulling back on the folds of skin. I hope you like it!

If you'd like to commission me to paint you or your dog, please email me, call me or go to my website for more information.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Brown Mule - Original Pastel Painting

This pastel painting titled "Brown Mule" will be on display at the San Dimas Western Art Show at the end of the month. I've been working on creating pieces for the show since May 2011. Can't wait to see the work hanging. If you live in Southern California and would like to attend the show, here is the information:

Sam Dimas Western Art Exhibition

36th Annual Exhibition

"Spirit of the West"

April 27 thru 29, 2012

Civic Center Plaza

245 E Bonita Avenue

San Dimas, California

Free admittance and parking on the 28th and 29th

If you need more information please email me at

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ricky in Oil

This is Ricky. I'd painted him years ago in pastel. He is 18 years old now which is amazing. When I'd painted him back in 2003, we'd taken "rolls" of photos of him. That was back when we didn't use digital cameras like we do now, or at least I didn't!!

There was this photo taken of Ricky standing at the top of the steps. His front legs are very bowed. For his 2003 portrait ( we wanted a more formal look. We had posed him in a leather chair and the painting came out great.

For this oil painting, which will be hanging in his owners veterinary clinic, they wanted a more whimsical painting. The photo of him standing at the top of the stairs was perfect to use as reference material. To complete the painting, we put his actual paw prints on the painting. So, yes, those paw prints at the bottom of the painting are directly from Ricky. The painting is 4 feet x 3 feet.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Harry Francis

This is Harry Francis. He is no longer with us. For his portrait, a number of snap shot photos were mailed to me. It is always so hard to look at photos of a cherished pet and see memories that were shared with the family and other pets. When looking at the photos, one just jumped out at me. Harry was sitting next to another dog. He had his nose tilted up in the air the way the Irish Setter can do. The photo was small - but the emotion it provoked was huge.

Discussing the photos with his family, we all agreed this photo would be my primary reference material. When asking about the background, there was no preference. So, I started the painting and while looking at it, it was so crystal clear. Lets do the background just as it was in the photo. In the photo was a heavily wooded area. One could easily imagine a setter or two romping joyfully through the woods. I had been given the artistic freedom to choose the background. When I told Harry's family of the decision they were tickled. Turns out the woods were Harry's kingdom and his servants, the squirrels were kept strictly in line by his constant surveillance. I can only smile knowing now that Harry loved to be in that wooded area. It all turns out doesn't it. Thank you to his family for choosing me to paint this wonderful boy.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Irish Setter Pup

This is an example of a mini painting. The painting measures approximately 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" unframed. The model for this painting is our dog, Faith. Faith has this favorite toy that is really a giraffe.

For the painting, I simplified the toy and added some stitching that is not actually visible on the toy to make the toy more old fashioned looking. The little giraffe toy is now about 18 months old and weathered - but still her favorite!

The painting is for sale. Hope you enjoy it. It is titled, "Mine".

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pilgrim and Merica

The two dogs in this painting, Pilgrim and Merica, are father and daughter. They were resting in the house and looking at each other. Their owner had a camera near by and caught the special moment.

When it came time to paint them, I "moved" them outside. The background in the reference photo was dark and not really material for a painting. The dogs live in the South so we thought having them laying in a field of flowers was more appropriate. Fortunately, I have some reference photos from the geographical area they live.

The painting came together nicely and the owner of the dogs was very happy with the final result.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

New Greeting Card "Treasured Moment'

This is my new greeting card. It is titled, "Treasured Moment". The layout was just finished and cards should be shipped to me sometime towards the end of the week.

The cards come 8 to a pack, are blank inside and include 8 envelopes. Pre-orders are welcome. Cards will be shipped out as soon as they are received from the printer. Packages of 8 are $14.00 plus shipping and tax for California residents. As a bonus, any cards purchased between now and March 1st will be eligible to win one extra pack of cards. A random drawing will be conducted 3/2/2012.

Go to my website at and click on the greeting card button or prints and stationary.

Have a great day!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Drew's puppies

Here is a picture I received of Drew's ( AM & Int'l CH Willowbrook Artists Rendition) first litter of pups. They are eight weeks old in this photo when the had their first visit with Santa.