Saturday, December 26, 2020

A painting of Emmy - Irish Setter

 This painting was completed of Emmy back in November.   I will be doing four paintings of Emmy and her house mates.   Painting # 2 is nearing completion.


I've known Emmy since she was a pup.  She is a sweetheart and has the most gentle personality.   It was a joy to be around her and take her photographs.   It was challenging to pick the photos for this paining.  Emmy is so photogenic, there were many choices from which to pick.   We couldn't have gone wrong regardless on the photos chosen.    

Yvette, thank you for having me painting your beautiful Emmy.  I can't wait for you to see the painting in person.

Here are the reference photos used for the painting:

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

A painting of Stevie - PBGV - Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Here is a painting of Stevie.  She is a PBGV - Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Here is a little background Stevie's owner shared with me...I got “Stevie” from a breeder  (“Lilly - her previous name” at the time, was 18 Months Old).  I lost my last Heart Dog on December 28th, 2013 and swore NO more Dogs!!!  (no more heartbreak)  Well, less than 2 Months Later, (Feb. 26th 2014) Stevie became my Forever Dog and the rest is History.  It was Love at First Sight and DEFINITELY a sign from Rainbow Bridge that was telling me, my previous PBGV didn’t want Mom to be lonely.  Stevie and I walk for about 5 miles every day and anyone and everyone that sees her, stops to ask me what kind of Dog she is.  She captures the hearts of everyone and LOVES both people and other dogs.  Her outgoing personality and her zest for life, keep me going and I can’t wait to open my eyes every morning to see her face.  She makes me smile, laugh and kisses my tears away when I’m sad.  She LOVES to chase squirrels, rabbits and anything else that’s small, furry and moves.  She has such an AMAZING temperament and the tail wags CONSTANTLY!  Her eyes sparkle and she has brought so much Sunshine and Love in to my Life and I’m Blessed to be lucky enough to be her “Forever Mom”.  One other thing is that she realizes how poor my Vision is and actually leads me through trails, paths etc. to find our way home.  I LOVE, LOVE LOVE what you’ve created!

Here are the reference photos used to create Stevie's painting.   Thank yo to Diane for having me paint your beautiful girl!

Monday, July 20, 2020

The one and only Clarence - Clumber Spaniel

I was so excited to paint a Clumber.    I'd painted an Irish Setter, Bailey, for Hilary and Pat in the past.   They are wonderful people and I was looking forward to working with them again.  This time they approached me to discuss painting their beloved Clumber, Clarence.  They are so dang adorable.  This is a breed I've always watched at the shows.   Hard to pinpoint the exact attraction, there is just something "happy" about a Clumber.

When it came to accumulating photos for Clarence's painting, his owners had some really fabulous choices.   A number of photos would have worked wonderfully.    They chose a perfect photo for me to use as the primary reference photo.  Clarence was sitting in a regal pose surrounded by a lovely garden of soft fuchsia colored blooms. 

With the white of the Clumber, having a soft blanket of color enveloping him was the ideal background.   The color really allowed Clarence to jump out of the composition as our primary focal point.

I'd asked Hilary and Pat to share some words about Clarence for me to include with his painting in my posts.   Here is what was shared:
As far as info on Clarence, you know that Bailey was our heart dog and we’re honored to have his portrait by you in our home.  We’re lucky to have a second heart dog in Clarence and are thrilled to have his portrait now too. He’s a true gentleman and loves his work as a therapy dog. He makes us smile every single day.

Thank you again!

It was my pleasure to paint Clarence.   He is such a character.   Congrats to Hilary and Pat for the new puppies they have out of Clarence.  His legacy will continue on.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

A painting of Dominick: MBISS MBISS NBIS GCHG PaRay’s Power and Privilege

This painting was something I'd been looking forward to doing.   Dominick's owners had wanted a unique painting of their lovely boy.   I was excited to work with them again.   I had painted their girl, Sloan, a number of years ago.
The goal was to have him in a Victorian setting.   After quite a lot of research and going back and forth with ideas - we had a plan.  I've not done a painting like this before, but what fun it was to create.   Dominick was a Bichon Frise and had a significant impact on the breed.   With that in mind, I wanted the colors of the clothing to reflect Dominick.   The purple and gold colors in the clothing are the colors of the Best of Breed ribbon in the dog show world.  In addition, purple and gold are the colors for the Westminster Kennel Club.   All fitting to include in this dog's painting.   Over the course of the research and the completion of the painting, many conversations were had.  

Following are some snippets of these conversations as well as background information about Dominick.
 Dawn, I have been fascinated by these images since I opened your email!
You are so clever with the angle of the head in position to the chest. Very intriguing.
The image of Dominick (#3)  looking up to the right, without his tongue sticking out - is the one I like best for the portrait. 
Did you flip this image?   Perfect!

Here is a little bit about Dominick:
MBISS MBISS NBIS GCHG PaRay’s Power and Privilege, “Dominick,” was our foundation sire for the Rosemont Bichon Frise line and had 21 litters to his credit.

And... a finished painting:
WOW! Just WOW!!
Beautiful. I think you did an extraordinary job on Dominick's head/face/expression, and the colors are magnificent - soft purple and gold - Westminster, and Best of Breed!
Dominick’s expression is lovely and your eye is perfect.
Martin got the biggest smile our of Dominick’s paw on the cane. It is his favorite part, after Dominick’s head.  I will enjoy it every day!  I can't wait to see the original.  And yes, the background detail is beyond expectations! Thank you very much!!
He will always be a most precious Bichon to me - - my heart dog.
Thank you to Laura and Martin for having me paint their special boy.  It was an honor.

Parker - Original Painting

Here is a painting just finished of Parker, an Irish Setter.     His owner sent me a fabulous reference photo and I couldn't wait to get started.   Not only was Parker's pose wonderful, the background was lovely.   Photos are my road map.   When you are traveling, a map (or GPS) can help you get from point A to point B.  The same holds true when painting a commissioned piece.   I need a map to get from a blank slate to reach a painting that is indeed truly a specific dog.   As an artist, I use liberties to make the composition stronger than the photo.   For this painting, I wanted Parker as large as possible while keeping as much background as possible.  If you look at the reference photo at the bottom of this post,  I've dropped the skyline, added darks where needed and reduced areas that were too dark in the photo.   The water is more emphasized in the painting and more colors were incorporated into the foliage.   There are more "reds -burnt sienna" in the foliage and grasses to create a color harmony that ties into the color of Parker.  In essence, I closely followed the photo, but made something distinct and different - a stronger composition.

I always like to know a little bit about the dogs I am painting.   It turns out, Parker was Lindsey's first Irish Setter.   For those of us who have the breed, we know they are smart, can be independent and have a lot of energy.   When I read what Lindsey sent me about Parker, I had to laugh.   Here is what she said....

My 1st Irish Setter and he taught me so much about training a dog that wasn’t as pleasing in temperament as a German Shepherd. He had a mind of his own and he was very determined. Parker could give you a look that screamed “do you think I am stupid?” The day we took this photo I had been working with him for months on obedience commands and was so proud of him for being such a good boy for the photos.

 Thank you for  having me paint your special boy Lindsey, it was an honor.  He was a gorgeous boy.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

A painting of Rowan

This painting was recently finished and will be shipped to his owners once they have relocated to their new home.

I've met Rowan and what a wonderful boy he is.   I'd asked his "parents" to share a little bit about him and his mom wrote the following poem.   She is so creative.  

Here is a little bit about Rowan!  Thank you to his parents for having me paint their beautiful boy.


He came from Colorado
A Galewinn’s pick of litter
Then went to California
To join Rose, an English Setter

Rowan got his first few nods
As he competed in the ring
He also played with toys
Great joy to us he’d bring

When one year old he went up North
Alaska seemed the place
To retire with some family
In open Klondike space

The next year again he moved
Midwest Wisconsin he was bound
A new job for Dad to try
New fun in squirrels he found

Family called us to Florida sun
Row tired of move once more
He found more squirrels to be chased
And handlers for shows galore

The show ring brought more wins
As Grand Champion he did reach
And then we got a new puppy
To chase squirrels he did teach

So now he’s almost five, still young
Making sure his fun’s not a bore
Rowan has a lot life ahead
Many goals he has in store.

So stay tuned to Rowan’s life
And see all that he does do
His future’s bright for all to see
His love from him to you.

Continue all to roam with Rowan
This Irish Setter from the States
His adventures I will share
As we all enjoy his fates.

Monday, March 23, 2020

A painting of Felix

This is Felix.  I've had the pleasure of meeting him in person and what a sweet dog he is.   I would have taken him home in a minute.

He was a dream during our photo shoot.   I've asked his owner, Gerry, to share a little bit about him.   Following is what she shared....

Felix Is a “giant gentle” was out of a litter of 4, two boys and girls; named after the stars of the Odd Couple.  Weighing 90 pounds, he could get into your bed and you would not even know it.  He brought comfort and companionship to my mom and dad while they were ill and would alert everyone if there was something out of the ordinary going on.  Felix is a true gentleman and adopted my heart when I met him when he was 4 1/2 years old.  He will be 11 years old in May and is truly my heart dog.

I am currently accepting commissions.  If you would like me to paint your dog, cat, horse, bird - etc - I'd love to talk to you.   Please email me at   As always, thank you for reading my blog.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Painting of John Doe - English Setter

This painting was recently finished.   The painting is a portrait of a beautiful English Setter, John Doe - BISS, GHC Sea Island’s Kadon Code Blue.

I love painting English Setters.   Painting them takes more time than some breeds.  It is a full time "checks and balances" to make sure I have the markings correct.  I usually use a ruler and have a large photo taped next to the painting as well as the image on my computer screen next to my easel.   The computer allows me to zoom in on fine details.  The photo allows me to use a ruler and measure back and forth between the painting and the photo comparing the placements of the markings. 

The primary reference pose was John Doe sitting on a grooming table at a dog show.  We can see he was having a great time.  My dogs love going to the shows - lots of pampering - seeing new people - making new friends - and....lots of TREATS!  What a beautiful boy.

Thank you Frazier for having me paint this special boy.

If you are interested in commissioning a painting of your dog, please email me at

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

A painting of Behbinn

This is a commissioned painting of Behbinn.   "CH Malleyrhu First Love JR"

She is gone now, but she lives on in the heart of her owner and through her puppies that enrich our lives.

There is a long story behind Behbinn and me, and I will attempt to keep this short....

In 2009, my husband and I were attending the Irish Setter Club of America National Specialty which was held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that year.  Our young male dog, Drew, had placed 4th in the 12 - 18 month class.   A friend and art collector, Claire Andrews, had approached me to compliment me on Drew.    Anyone who knows Claire, knows a compliment from Claire is a big deal.   Claire then went on to recommend Drew as a potential stud dog to another friend, Jan Mathews, who had a lovely young girl named Behbinn.   Jan and I talked about a possible breeding.  Our dogs were too young at the time.  There was a lot to be accomplished before truly considering to breed these two dogs.   We wanted them to complete their championships, they needed them to undergo health testing and receive various health clearances, time would tell - but we decided to talk down the road.   

Two years later, our two dogs were of age, they were champions, and had their health clearances.   I took photos of Behbinn, and her pedigree, to Pat Haigler, my mentor, and sought her advice on the potential breeding.   Pat and I sat down and discussed all the dogs in the two pedigrees.   It was decided - we would move forward with the breeding.

Behbinn's reference photo - thank you Kathy Roscoe
Drew and I were in Southern California at the time, Jan and Behbinn were in Rhode Island.   Previously, my husband and I had two breedings with Drew to our Monet, both didn't take due to timing issues with Monet.   We didn't want to risk a timing issue with Behbinn.    Getting the frozen semen to Behbinn was challenging on a timing basis.   Thankfully, we were successful and a lovely litter of pups rewarded us.    Jan kept "yellow boy"  aka "Brady" from the litter.    Here is a photo of me and Brady a few years ago.   He is a lovely dog.   Rich and I lost Drew a few months ago.    Through Brady, we have a little piece of Behbinn and Drew to warm our hearts.    Much thanks to Jan (and Claire) for seeing the beauty Drew had to contribute to the lovely Behbinn.  Thank you to the owners of their pups for the fantastic homes they have given them.
Rich and Dawn with Brady aka CH Malleyrhu California Red Patriot JH, TKN, TKI