It is always so special to be asked to paint someones beloved pet. When this painting was started, I knew Bailey had passed away earlier in the year. It is emotional for me in those cases. At the time each painting is started, 100% dedication is given to that painting as if no other paintings are on the waiting list. That way there is no rushing - no pressure - just dedication to creating the best painting possible.
I'd asked Bailey's owners to share a bit with me about Bailey and here is what they shared:
My husband Jim and I always had Irish from the beginning of our marriage. We became involved with ISCA after purchasing several dogs from Cheryl Mika. These boys trained my daughter to show them and to take care of them. As they got older we discovered we would have to look for a new breeder to purchase our setters. Enter Ginny Swanson. Ginny sent me Bailey, Tramore Just Because. Bailey was probably one of the smartest boys we had the pleasure to care for. He had the ability to walk into a stack and stay there...I would watch him effortlessly glide across the yard. Up till that point I never early understood what good movement looked like. It looked like Bailey! We took him to the national in Michigan and he won the large 18 month old class. Cheryl Mika showed him flawlessly. That was a huge thrill. He had a beautiful dream coat . Long straight hair ....tons of hair that moved so effortlessly with him . But far above his movement was his devilish personality. You could be sitting on the couch with him and turn to look at him and he was watching you with his side eyes. The second time you looked at him he would lunge at you.....never touched you, never bit, just to scare you....a game...he played. Loved to chase ball ....never brought back.....loved to walk on an extend lead out as far as he could go and prance back and forth.....loved the squirrels in the yard ....spent many an afternoon stacked in front of the tree. We said goodbye earlier this year after 12.5 too short years. If I close my eyes he is still floating through the yard.
The photo submitted of Bailey had him sitting in front of a Christmas tree. The question became, do we use that background or not? Several things popped into my mind as the artist, would the lights and decorations take the focal point away from the main subject? Possibly was the answer. Secondly, would the painting seem "seasonal"? Possibly was again the answer. In the end, the choice was to go with the idea of the Christmas tree but it was not yet decorated. It was the perfect solution. The painting was all about Bailey and with this simpler background, there was no question about the focal point. Bailey's owners will always know he was standing in front of their Christmas tree but there would be no distraction to take the viewers' attention away from Bailey.
Thank you to Bailey's owners for having me paint your special boy. It was indeed my pleasure and honor.