Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Three Schnauzers

Here is the surprise painting I last spoke about! I really wanted to post it sooner, but was afraid it would ruin the surprise. This painting was for my friend, Dana, and her husband and I had to do a lot of sneaking around to get photos. He was not confident that he could get the poses I needed and we were working with a couple of deadlines. First, there was the deadline of the anniversary. Then there was the more pressing deadline of not knowing how long one of the dogs was going to live. You see, the dog in the middle, P.C., is quite old and was really starting to have problems. And as those who have pets know it's so hard to decide when it's time to let them go. But P.C. hung in there, living a good life and even having a little adventure a few weeks back. He tolerated us through all the picture taking ( actually slept through most of it!), but was very alert when the treats came out so I was able to get a few good shots with his head up and eyes open. 

I really enjoyed creating this painting not just because it was for some great friends, but because I had gotten to know all three Schnauzers over the years.  Each one was so different from the other and the two younger ones, Jasmine, the black one, and Mia, the one on the right, loved it when my husband and I visited. They especially love my husband and we joke that it's because of the mustache. He has a great, thick one and we think the dogs look at him as one of them!!  P.C. was a pretty old gentleman already by the first time I met him so he was just content to greet you at the door, give you a good sniff and then find a good spot for a nap. 

When creating a painting for someone I try to get to know the dogs as best as I can through my clients photos and their memories. If the dogs are alive sometimes I get to meet them and that helps me to capture their personalities better. Knowing all three of these dogs helped to some degree to get it right, but some of what I do just happens as I paint. Some of it is intuitive, some of it is just knowing my materials and how dogs are put together.  Often times I feel that I have a lot of help from an unseen source because I'm able to capture a look or snippet of personality that I can't possibly know about. Some people call this their "muse". I know that God has gifted me with this ability and I believe he's the one guiding my hand as I paint. He helps me to add that special "something" that really touches the ones receiving the painting.

Dana called me last night to tell me how pleased she was with her surprise painting. It was especially meaningful as P.C. passed away just the week before. She told me how much she loved the arrangement of the dogs, the colors in the background, how I had captured each dog perfectly. She loved everything about it and if she had commissioned it herself would have wanted it to look just as I made it. Of course, I'm always happy to hear that I've done a good job, but I also know that it's not all me. I'm just grateful for the gifts I've been blessed with and always appreciative of that unseen help!

So now it's on to some other projects! This was my last commission and I have already started on some other small works that will be for sale. Hopefully, in the next few weeks I will be posting those. Thanks for joining me here today and hope that you enjoyed the Schnauzers!