April 30, 2014
My recent projects are that of dog paintings. I don’t know what drove me to do them, or even if I will eventually sell any of them, but I’m having fun making such portraits. One of my first paintings of a dog is that of our family pet, a Yorkie Poodle named Duke. It was kind of challenging painting him mainly because he moves so much, and can’t stay in the same place for a long time. Yorkie Poodles are one branch of the poodle family which is particularly known for their high energy and silliness among all the poodle mixes. Some say they are little clowns disguised as dogs, so you know the hard time I went through painting him.
Although the paintings that we always see are of peoples and places, animals are also a favorite subject of artists. Painting animals are sort of like a primer to painting people, and they are somewhat regarded as a sort of a training ground for aspiring masters. Animals, particularly dogs, are very hard to paint, like people, because of one thing, their eyes. The eyes give life to any portrait, and precisely capturing what the eyes really look like, eventually gives the painting a soul.
There are many paintings worldwide that uses the dog as its subject. Some are old and some paintings are relatively new, and I would like to share with you several of them that are influences in the way I make animal art.
Laying Down the Law (1840)
Also knows as “Trial by Jury”, “Laying Down the Law” was an oil-on-canvas painting made by Sir Edwin Landseer back in 1840.The painting was used to satirize the legal profession of that time by using different breeds of dogs, for the composition of the audience, and a French Poodle, in the center, as the judge.
A Distinguished Member of the Humane Society (1831)
An oil-on-canvas painting made also by Sir Edwin Landseer, it depicts a dog named Bob, who was found in a shipwreck on the England coast. Bob, who since relocated near a London harbor side, began a fourteen year career of saving drowning people, was eventually honored as a celebrated member of the Royal Humane Society.
Dogs Playing Poker (1903)
Who would ever forget these series of paintings made by C. M. Coolidge for the then cigar company of Brown & Bigelow back in 1903? In this series of 16 paintings, dogs were put in place of people doing everything from smoking cigars, playing cards and also consoling a sick friend.
Madame Renoir with a Dog (1880)
Made by the renowned painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the painting depicts his wife carrying a bouquet of flowers on a boating party, accompanied by two little dogs. The beautifully done Impressionist art was painted on 1880.
I can go on and on with many more exquisite paintings that showcases dogs. Some very well-known ones, from popular painters, are always showcased in exhibits, but most are relegated to the backroom of art history. In art, nothing is ugly or less beautiful; it’s just not their time to shine yet.