The painting of Gavin started with such a photo. For those of you who own dogs, we all know "the look" they give us at times. It may be they are being invisible for whatever doggie reason they have, it may be they are pouting because we are leaving, it may be dozens of reasons for the look. In the perfect photo, Gavin had his head up with a slight breeze blowing. He was proud and doing what he wanted. I would have loved to have known what he was thinking at the moment the photo was taken.
Gavin's owners wanted me to down play the white beginning to frost his aging muzzle. Also, his coloring had lightened with age. I used some photos of a young Gavin for his coat color. In the background was a large tree. It was agreed that the tree competed with Gavin as a focal point in the painting, so the tree was omitted.
I always love it when people share a little bit about their dogs. Not everyone wants to do so. Gavin's parents were comfortable talking about Gavin and here is what they shared:
Windwood Celtic Flame Afield (Gavin) - BIS/BISS Ch Windrose Who’s On First? X Am/Can Ch Windwood Flambe’ O Redridge
Having owned many setters, both Gordon and Irish, Gavin has been a joy to live with for the past 12 1/2 years. He began a show career as a young dog earning 9 points and one major; however, his real life Dad deployed to Afghanistan and showing stopped for over a year and he never returned to the ring. For the past 12 plus years Gavin has excelled at being a companion and friend. He is an arrogant Irish Setter and he knows he is beautiful. In his opinion, the world revolves around him. Not only is Gavin beautiful and athletic, he is extremely intelligent. He demands your attention when he wants it (all of the time for the most part), but should you decide you want his attention he will become aloof and act as if he is the untouchable.
Each year it has been a tradition to take a yearly photograph for Christmas sharing. The photo submitted to Dawn was taken on our property in WV at the end of the fall season in 2017. Gavin is extremely photogenic and the secret to getting good shots of him is to take him out somewhere and to sit down and let him settle in, wait, and watch for his beautiful moments. He will not fail at producing elegant poses all on his own. As you take photos, he will hold his head high in the air enjoying the attention as he did in this photo and remind anyone watching - “I am handsome, and I know it. I am ALL Irish.”
Dawn has done a remarkable piece of an artwork for us that will be cherished for many years to come. We were lucky enough to see her work in progress with this piece at the Irish Setter National in Asheville, NC. It brought tears to my eyes when I first saw it as I noticed the accuracy in which she has captured every detail down to the fine texture of his hair on his face and head. Her work is stunning and we are grateful to her for this beautiful piece of art.
John and Rhonda Donohoe - Afield Setters, Milton, WV
Thank you to the Donohoes for having me paint Gavin. I enjoyed every minute! And a special thank you to John Donohoe for his service in protecting the great USA!