Friday, December 26, 2014

Border Terrier Portraits

Several months ago a secret project was completed.  Three individual portraits of three border terriers were painted that were to be given as Christmas presents.   After the paintings were commissioned, the senior dog of the three, Chloe, was unexpectedly lost to illness.   I saved her painting until last to paint.  Chloe held such a special place in Amy's heart, it was very emotional for me to paint her.

It has been so much fun being part of secret Christmas presents.  This year has been a record in creating them for folks. 

Over the past six months paintings have been completed and shipped off to be given to loved ones on this special holiday.

These three paintings were shipped to Amy's mother to keep the paintings out of her home so her husband wouldn't find them.  Thank you to "Mom" for helping Amy keep her surprise.

I'd shipped the paintings a few months ago.  It has been a long wait for Amy to post the paintings on Facebook so that I could in turn post them myself.

Thank you Amy for letting me be part of your Christmas!  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Australian Shepherd Painting


This is a painting recently finished that was a surprise Christmas gift. Turbo, is a rescue Australian Shepherd. Years ago Turbo was in a shelter with no family. He'd been there for several months which was unusual for the staff to keep an animal that long. Some very kind people came along and found that he was slated to end his stay the next day. They couldn't allow that to happen and Turbo went home with them.

Turbo is now 12 + years old and having health problems. When his owner, Lori, came to me to paint him as a Christmas gift for her husband, my heart melted. Lori sent me a number of photos of Turbo. The one that made me take a deep breath was the one of him years ago laying on a bed with the most adorable blonde haired child. That child came to my home tonight with her parents (now a lovely young woman and a college graduate) to pick up the painting.

What a wonderful life this family has given Turbo and what a precious gift of love he has given them in return. It was an honor to paint him for them. Merry Christmas to the Robertsons!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

This is a painting of Tori, CH Jewelset What Dreams R Made Of, ROM.

The painting was to be a surprise Christmas present for Tori's family.  I asked the person who commissioned the painting to give me some background on their relationship with Tori's owners.   Here is a glimpse of what she told me:

     "Through Julie and Kim, I discovered the excitement of going to dog shows and I've met so many nice people,  I've held newborn puppies for the first time in my life, I've share victories and championships with them, they took me to my first National in Ohio, and have had more fun than I ever thought possible. I knew Tori was very special to Julie and Kim and I hoped with all my heart that this gift would bring them as much joy and happiness as they have given to me.  Thank you, Dawn, for helping me do this... XOXO"  

It is always a joy to paint for people.   There is something special about painting an animal for someone, that as an artist, I never expected.   It is almost impossible to put into words.  I can tell you, my heart skips a beat when I'm finished with the painting and hand it over to those who commissioned the work.  I had the same feeling when we had our puppies and handed the puppies over to their new families.   You have something you love in your hands that you are letting go of, but you know it is going to the home where it is supposed to be.  In that moment - there is warmness in my heart.

I hope you enjoy viewing the painting as much as I did painting it.   Thank you to Pat for allowing me to be part of your surprise.   Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Book signing in San Diego - would love to see you there!

Our book, Show Dogs Escape to the Seashore, has been well received and won several awards.

Marsha has been awarded:
  • The Mom's Choice Award for Excellence
There is one illustration of a cat in the book.   To our humor and delight, the cat illustration is currently our award winning illustration.
  • Certificate of Excellence by the Cat Writers' Association, Inc.
  • Best Cat Illustration of the Year 2014 (Single Illustration category) by the Cat Writer's Association, Inc.
In addition, Show Dogs Escape to the Seashore has been nominated in three separate categories for the prestigious Maxwell Medal by the Dog Writers Association of America.  The categories are:
  • Best Single Illustration (in all genre)
  • Best Series of Illustrations (in all genre)
  • Best Children's Book
Winners will be announced in New York City at the annual Dog Writers banquet - the Hotel Pennsylvania on Feb 15, 2015
Books are available for sale on the book's website at  
If you are interested in one of the original illustrations, please let me know.  A number of them have been sold.  Please email me if you have a question concerning the originals - they are not yet on the book's website.
The next public book signing will be in San Diego, California at the landmark Hotel Del Coronado.
  • 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA, 92118, telephone 619-435-6611
  • Signing will be from 11 am - 3 pm on Saturday, December 20th.  The location will either be in the signature room on the mail floor or outside the Blue Octopus Toy Store.   Would love to see you there!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Borzoi - New Limited Edition Reproduction
New "Borzoi" reproduction is available.

The limited edition, museum quality prints, are 8" x 10" and available for $50.00.

Hope you like the art.   It was amazing when the dogs were photographed for this painting.  Just love the Borzoi - so kind and regal.. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cash is ready for Thanksgiving!

I told Cash this evening that he had to stay out of the whipping cream for the pies that are being made for tomorrow.   He gave me stink face.

Then, I told Cash he didn't get any turkey tomorrow.   He has been begging too much and grabbing our forks with his paw.    He is not pleased......

Monday, November 10, 2014

Golden Retriever Painting

This painting has been a while in the making.  I'd photographed the dogs over a year ago and their owners were going back and forth on which photos would best represent their furry family members.

The oldest one, Blonde, is the image on the top.  Misty, is on the left, and Cruiser is bottom right.   During this decision making process, the family lost their beloved Blonde.   She was a veteran dog in her senior years.  The loss hit the family hard and put the painting on hold.   No matter how long we have our dogs - no matter how old they live - their time with us is never enough.

Once Blonde's family was ready to tackle the project, it was discussed that the family didn't want Blonde and Misty shown as old as they were.   So, one major goal was to paint the dogs looking younger.   Secondly, the day had been quite windy when the photos were taken and the dogs were all squinting.   I used other reference photos to give me a clear idea of how each dog held their eyelids when the wind was not gusting.   The painting reflects the dogs with calm expressions and no squinting.

Below are photos of the finished painting as well as some of the reference photos for the painting.

It was so special to paint the dogs for this lovely family and I hope the painting brings smiles to their faces each time they look at it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Our pups are two years old!

This is Hannah - our red girl from the litter.   Her human parents are so much fun and take the kind of photos I take - dressing up the dogs and just having silly fun with them.

Rich and I always look forward to seeing Hannah.  Enjoy her birthday photos!  Am also going to include photos of her parents taken recently.   I see a little of both of them in her!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Getting the Point - a new limited edition print

This is my newest print release.  Sometimes the most difficult thing for me to do is to come up with a name for the painting.   So, thank you to Karolynne for the suggestion of the name, Getting the Point!

Getting the Point started out as an idea to change up my style a little bit.  Almost like wanting a new hair style.  The change folks that are familiar with my work will notice is that the back ground is different.   The colors are more muted and a little less detailed.  My goal was for the painting to be all about the dog and less about what was going on around the dog.

I started with a sanded board and did a light layer of pastel that was then brushed with turpenoid to create an under painting that was more like a watercolor painting.   Once that layer dried, I began layering subtle dry layers of pastel.  Those layers were "smudged" with my fingers and actual paint brushes to feather out any significant detail.

For the dog in the painting, the color was strong and detailed as usual.  The photo of this dog was taken while she was out in the field working.  I saw the reference photo and knew immediately that I had to paint her.  To date, all of my Irish Setter hunt scenes have featured a male dog.  So, it was thrilling to have a female to add to the collection.  I love seeing the dogs doing what comes naturally.  The pheasant in the painting was photographed by me, out in the field, a few years earlier.   In an ideal scenario the pheasant would have been further away from the dog.  However, to keep the gaze of the dog correct and keep the subjects as up close and personal as possible, the pheasant needed to be placed closer to the dog.

The original painting sold at a show.  It happened so quickly.   I hadn't had time before the show to take the painting in to be professionally photographed for reproductions.   Fortunately, the reproduction folks were able to work with some images I'd taken of the painting, so we were able to put the painting into print.
Hope you like this new painting and would love to hear your feedback on the back ground!  The prints are now available on my website at  specifically  or call me toll free at 866-393-7111.

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lisa and Lucy

This painting is of two Irish Setters (litter mates) named Lisa and Lucy.   The painting was done in pastel.

It is always fun to receive a new commission and to see the photos being sent to me for the painting (in the instances when I don't get to meet the dogs).    The girls "human mom" sent me the following photo and said, "Will this work?"   It was a great photo and the reflections in the girl's eyes were amazing.   Excitedly I told her it was a wonderful reference photo.

As the painting progressed we discussed background colors and decided to go with some fun lighter greens.    Those colors worked wonderfully with this painting.   We had discussed a more cedar color initially and then blues and greens, finally settling on the greens.

Hope you enjoy the viewing the painting as much as I did painting it.   Huge thank you to Holly for having me paint her beautiful babies!!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Irish Setter Painting - Erin and Cara

This is a painting I've been working on for a while.  It is a commission and was done in pastel.   I've been also working on three oil paintings at the same time.   Working on multiple paintings simultaneously keeps my eye fresh on each painting.

The reference photos for the painting are below as well as the finished painting.  The girls owner said the girls personalities were captured perfectly.  Erin, the older girl, is always more quiet and wanting attention.   Cara, on the other hand, is outgoing and always hunting squirrels.

Thank you to the girls owners for asking me to paint their precious dogs.  It has been wonderful getting to know them all better!!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Italian Greyhound

Recently finished this painting of an Italian Greyhound.  The breeder was kind enough to allow me to photograph her dogs so I could add an IG to my line of reproductions. 

Since I am not as knowledgeable with IGs as I'd like to be, I asked her for feedback on which of my photos represented the breed most correctly.    She chose a handful of photos and then of those photos, I picked this one.
Hope the IG fancy welcomes this new print once it becomes available.   Now to think of a name for the print!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Show Dogs Escape to the Seashore Book Signing Party

We had our first party at Marsha Hall Brown's home a few weeks ago.   It was so much fun.  Hard to believe our book is out and people are enjoying it.

More photos are on the book's Facebook at at:

Take a peek at the photos if you have time.

Autographed copies of the book are available on the website at

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Irish Setter Painting - Suzanna

This is a painting (soft pastels) recently completed of a beautiful dog named Suzanna.  She lives in another state so the painting was created by using photos supplied by Suzanna's owner.

The primary reference photo is shown below.   It was not necessary to show all of what was in the photo.   Sometimes less is more.   My goal was for the viewer to rest their focus on Suzanna's face.  There were other photos considered, but we collectively kept coming back to this one.    I understand she is the family clown.    One thing is for sure, she a beautiful girl.
Thank you to Suzanna's family for trusting me with creating this special painting for them. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

The "Treasure" litter is 18 months old

Time flies by so quickly.   Our pups are now 18+ months old.  The owners have been kind enough to keep us in their lives and send us photos regularly.

The dogs' website has updated photos of each pup.

Click on the photo of Hannah below if you'd like to see the pups at this point in their lives.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Commissions of litter mates

I've been working on a few commissions at the same time (those of you who know me well are laughing).   Doing so allows me to keep a fresh eye on the bigger pieces due to the hours involved in completing them.  I switch back and forth between the paintings.   That way, my eye is fresh and the little things that could have been overlooked are not.

It has been fun to see the dogs and get to know all four of them.   Tragically, one of the dogs passed just a few weeks before the painting was completed.  He was a senior dog - but had been quite healthy.   His illness came on quickly and there was nothing his owner could do but say goodbye.   I was going to be working on his painting at the Irish Setter National.   It was heartbreaking to show his painting to his owner.   She was prepared for it and handled it better than expected.   She said the painting has kept her boy, Romance, close to her and is thankful she had it done.  

The above photos are the finished paintings and the reference photos supplied for the paintings.   The first pair of litter mates is Magic and Lincoln.   The second pair is Shevy and Romance.

Thank you to the owners of these dogs for entrusting me with such special projects.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bling at the Irish Setter Club of America National Specialty

Here is Bling's "Rendition Treasure Every Minute CGC", photo from the National - 20 months old.

Sometimes I see her father, Drew, CH Willowbrook Artists Rendition JH, in her and sometimes I see her mother. Right now she is looking like momma Monet "CH Rusticwood Spellbound CGC".

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Our first home bred champion - Treacy "CH Rendition Treasure of the Sierras".

Rich and I are excited to share we have our first bred champion - green boy from our litter - aka Treacy "CH Rendition Treasure of the Sierras" (pending AKC verification). Treacy finished today at 20 months of age. He is owned by Barrey & Liaf Robles - piloted to his championship by Kathy Grayson and Roger Kibbee. Bling is very proud of her brother. Treacy is out of CH Willowbrook Artists Rendition JH x CH Rusticwood Spellbound CGC.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Longhorn Calf at Sunset is on exhibit at The Bennington
(802) 442-7158 | 44 Gypsy Lane, Bennington, Vermont 05201

One of my western oil paintings, Longhorn Calf at Sunset, is on exhibit at The Bennington. If you live in the Vermont area and have some extra time - the show has some wonderful art on exhibit!  This painting is for sale.

Art of the Animal Kingdom XIX
DATES: June 14 - August 24, 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Painting of Kelly & Mick

I've know Kelly and Mick for a number of years now.   When Mick was  young, Kelly had him in a crate in her vehicle.   They were in a terrible traffic accident.   Mick's crate was sheared in half and he was running lose on the freeway.  Kelly was airlifted to the hospital.  Someone caught Mick, who had some lacerations, and took him to a veterinarian.   The vet scanned him for a microchip and called his owner, Kelly's husband.   He told the vet, his dog was with his wife.   The vet said no, your dog is here.   That is how he found out his wife and dog and been in terrible accident.

Life is so fragile and sometimes it can be taken so quickly.   Kelly is one of those people who make an impact on your life, and her dog Mick is the same.   Those who know her are so very thankful she was not taken from us at that time.  You will never see her without a smile on her face and Mick will always be wagging his tail.

Mick is a very important part of her life and the background for this painting is one of their very special places to visit.

Here is what Kelly posted on her Facebook page:
Celebrating 10.5 years with my boy Mick - American Canadian Champion Westeirann Estrella Magic with a beautiful pastel painting by Dawn Secord . Thank you Dawn! I will cherish this forever can't wait to get it in a frame on the wall.

Thank you Kelly for having me paint you and your special boy - it was an honor!

Photo: Celebrating 10.5 years with my boy Mick - American Canadian Champion Westeirann Estrella Magic with a beautiful pastel painting by Dawn Secord . Thank you Dawn! I will cherish this forever can't wait to get it in a frame on the wall.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Commission of Emma

This is a recently finished commission of Emma.   When her family approached me to paint her I was thrilled.  Another art collector had suggested to them that I paint Emma as I had painted their senior dog, Ruby.   As an artist, nothing is more heartwarming than to know someone is asking me to paint their dog because someone else is so pleased with their painting.  

When they brought Emma to me to take the photos, my heart melted.   She is a veteran girl with the softest eyes and the most amazing ears.   We took a ton of photos of her and it really was a hard decision to determine which photo best represented Emma.

The painting was done a few months ago, but the family allowed me to hang on to it until the ISCA National Specialty so I could have it there on display.

If you'll be at the National - and want to see the painting in person - please come by my art booth!

Thank you to Emma's family for choosing me to paint her portrait and thank you to Ruby's family for suggesting it to them!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Poster "Celebrate Seagoing Show Dogs" is now for sale!

When the book came out, the author, Marsha Hall Brown, and I were trying to decide which illustrations to put into print and which ones to feature on a poster.   At one of our meetings we had a brainstorm, why not have a commemorative poster that includes a number of the illustrations rather than focusing on the cover of the book.

The commemorative poster is titled, "Celebrate Seagoing Show Dogs" and is for sale on the book's website.  This poster features a number of my illustrations from the book Show Dogs Escape to the Seashore.

The poster is 18" x 24" and retails for $12.00 plus tax.   Close to my heart and included in the poster (as well as the book) is an Irish Setter and English Setter.   The author is offering free shipping for any orders that are made before July 1, 2014.   If you are interested in taking a purchasing the poster - go to the book's website at

To see more of my work - go to my website at

Friday, May 9, 2014

Irish Setter Puppy Painting Number 2
Here is puppy painting number two.   The first painting can be seen on my facebook page at:

To push the emotion in the painting a bit further than that of the photo, I rolled this pup's ears back a tad more than what her ears were doing in the actual photo.   That is the fun with painting - no rules - no being limited with a photo.   Following is the story about this painting.   If you want to participate in the voting on which painting I should put into print, please go to my facebook art page and share your comments!

Here is a second puppy painting that was done for a show.   When the first puppy painting was completed, I was asked if it was going to be put into print.   Originally, that had not been the intention.   The two paintings were simply for a show. 

When going through all the different reference puppy photos in my library, the reference photo for this second puppy painting kept talking to me.   There was something about the eyes that drew me in and kept me there.  At first, it seemed the pup was longing for something.  After looking at the photo numerous times it no longer had that look, but rather a thoughtful look.  The emotion the pup was displaying was very thought provoking - what the heck was that pup thinking?  I figured, if I kept going back to that photo, well, I better paint it.

So, my question to you is (now that I've decided to put one of the two into a limited edition print) which of the two should it be?   Would love to hear your votes - is it puppy painting number one or puppy painting number two?  In puppy number one, I used some fun fruitful colors that were used in a painting of my dog Jewel,  years ago (you can see a snippet of Jewel's painting on the top of my blog) that were more of a fun cheery approach.   Puppy painting number two has more bold colors.    

The emphasis was not color harmony in the painting but to direct the viewer to the eyes of the pup.

If you want to see the original reference photo for puppy painting number 2 - go to my blog at 

Don't forget to send me a comment and let me know which of the two you prefer!   Thanks so much!