Pencil Portrait of a Shelter Dog 2:365

Dog at Lehigh County Humane Society

Day two of my one a day resolution: Say hello to Jasmine. When I saw her picture, she was a guest at the Lehigh County Humane Society in Allentown, PA. She likely still is. Her photo struck me. She has sweet, soft eyes. She looks like a dog who needs a friend and would be a good friend. I tried to capture that feeling with this quick sketch. When I draw or paint dogs, I try to convey their personality through their eyes and their muzzle. I think if you can capture those areas of their face, you can tell their story. The rest is just structure.


I Was Busy Yesterday!

I found a pile of little 9″ x 12″ canvases in my studio cabinet, so I decided to put them to use. I don’t usually work small, so it was a bit of a challenge. I started with a little, close-up landscape. I was comprised by a pile f fallen leaves and the base of my grape vine. I spotted this little gem of a scene after I returned from the Van Gogh, Up Close show and started refocusing on the things around me. I can’t come close to replicating Van Gogh’s strokes, nor would I want to. There’s only one Van Gogh! Instead, I tried to reign in my normally less-than-controlled approach to painting to the much smaller surface. Here is the result:

Vinnies Vines painting

Vinnie's Vines, Acrylic on canvas, 9" x 12", 2012

I used the same palette to complete another small painting. This one is much more within my normal comfort zone. I do love to paint dogs!

Mr. Boxer, Acrylic on canvas painting

Mr. Boxer, Acrylic on canvas, 9" x 12", 2012

I completed one more painting with this palette, but I can’t reveal it yet…the subject hasn’t seen it yet!

Another Sad Dog

Shelter Me: No Name, Acrylic on canvas (in progress), 12" x 30", 2012

I have a vision in my mind of a series called Shelter Me. I want to honor the many dogs who never make it out of shelters, but I have so much trouble painting sad dogs. I hate to see them that way and it pains me to look into their eyes and see the depth of their fear and sadness. I started trying again to day. While this one is sad, I think I may be capturing a little feeling of hope. This may be the direction that I need go to make these paintings work.

I’m In Love!

dog, shelter, pit bull, art, painting

Shelter Me 1, Acrylic on canvas, 18" x 24", 2012

I bought a palette knife the other day. I didn’t really have anything in mind when I bought it, but thought it might be fun to fiddle with. I LOVE it!!! I wasn’t happy with the direction my first Shelter Me painting was going so I decided to give the palette knife a try. What fun! I love the texture and the way you can ALMOST control the paint, but not quite. I can’t wait to try it on a figure painting….think I know how I’m spending my weekend!

This painting is available on Etsy! Click here for purchase details.

Shelter Me!

Shelter Me 1, Acrylic on canvas, 18" x 24", unfinished

My vision for the Shelter Me series is to capture the faces and emotions of the animals who wait in shelters for their new homes. This is my first attempt. It’s not quite there yet, but I can almost see where it is going. I took the photo that I am using for reference years ago at a local kill shelter. The dog in the photo, being part pit bull, likely never made it out of the shelter (although I hope I am wrong about that!) It makes me so sad to think about all of the animals that spend weeks in shelters, scared, alone, only to be euthanized. I hope painting these pictures will honor them in some way.

Trying Something New

Henrik in the Wood, Acrylic on Wood, 8" x 24", 2012

Quite a few years ago, I bought a stack of book-matched pieced of wood from a luthier who was going out of business. I’m not exactly sure what I planned to do with them all, but they have been sitting in the basement waiting for me ever since. So, I decided to see what would happen if I tried painting on them. Well, I quite like the results! In areas where I thinned the paint with water, it absorbed nicely into the would, giving it a stained effect. Where I applied the paint heavily, it sat nicely on the surface.

This piece was a gift for friends who have a beautiful dog named Henrik. He was a shelter dog and has begun to thrive with their love. This may be the style that I adopt for my “Rescue Me/Shelter Me” series. I still haven’t decided. I am excited to get started working on it. I know exactly who my first subject will be! His name is Luke and he is a guest of MaPaw Siberian Husky Rescue. He and his friend, Dora, came into MaPaw from a local shelter. Soon after arrival, they were both found to have Canine Influenza. Sadly, Dora did not make it. Luke spent several days in critical condition, but is now improving. Their vet bills are quite high and my hope is that the sale of Rescue Me: Luke will help offset them just a bit.


Apparently I have it! All I can think about is my next painting! In fact, I have a whole series in mind: “Shelter Me; Rescue Me!” I have always had a passion for painting animals and I have a passion for helping homeless dogs and cats, so what makes more sense then using them as the subjects of my paintings? I did this years ago on a small scale and created the “PupArt” series. These were little 5″ x 7″ paintings that I sold and then donated a portion of the proceeds to the shelter where the subject was residing. This time I’m thinking of going MUCH bigger! 3′ x 4′, 4′ x 5′, or even bigger! Again, with some sort of profit sharing with the shelter or rescue. Seems like a win-win to me! I get GREAT subject matter and an endless suppl of inspiration and the shelter gets some level of publicity and hopefully a couple of extra bucks. I can hardly wait to get started. I hear the art supply store calling!

PupArt: LCHS, Acrylic on canvas board, 5" x 7", 2003