Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dog and Cat Show-The Casting Call Unveiling

Last February we had an event at Tails West Gallery in Sun Valley. We called it the Casting Couch, think of it as a "Casting Call" for paintings. Over 80 people brought in photographs of their dog(s) or cat(s), deposited them on the dog bed (casting couch) for me to look at and select for a painting. Being the nutty dog and cat lover that I am, I couldn't decide between all of them, so I brought home to my studio the ones that called to me, and decided to do several pieces.

Two of my most favorites were "Bella" a Portuguese water spaniel, and "Bergen" and "Yurich", two Bernese mountain dogs. These two were my star paintings. Bella is a large acrylic on birch panel, and Bergen and Yurick are pastel. The rest (10 more! yup) are small acrylics on board. It was a great way to meet people and hear about their critters, and to paint several different breeds that haven't come my way until now.

People often ask me, "Do you get tired of talking about people's dogs?". And the answer is "no". I love the surprising connection that comes about between creatures and humans. After you get past all the cutesy stuff, dogs and cats have a way or worming themselves into your heart, before you even know it. It is hard to qualify what they "provide", it is not just love and loyalty...they help us to be more compassionate (even if only in retrospect), and more humane. My first dog, Pu, would have been a model Cesar Milan dog. I leash trained her from puppy hood, and we went for long walks two times a day for years. She was the smartest, most entertaining dog I've ever owned. But most of this I found out in retrospect. I also treated her like a dog. Yes, she was my family, but she didn't get much special treatment (no scraps from the table, no naps on the couch (although occasionally I would find that warm, hairy spot on the couch when I got home from a long day at work). I just kept up my end of the deal. Two good meals and two long walks per day, and walk on the woods on the weekends, or a day on the river, so she could dive for rocks. Might be time to finally do her painting for myself. Eight years later.

Anyway, how did mentioning other people's dogs get me to talking about mine?