Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category
Damn it’s hot!
Go bite some water.
(photo by Catherine Massaro)
A while ago I did a post on Above Average Dogs, and my history with animal portraiture. I finished the portrait I talked about this week, and thought I’d share it. Why? Because she’s beautiful! Another above average dog goes to a good home.
I am constantly fighting the desire to get another dog. So when my son sent me this picture of my grandaughter and Macho the Boston Terrier pup, my heart melted. It’s a double whammy – a puppy and a cute kid.
I’m standing strong however. For now…
I stopped doing dog commissions about 7 years ago. I had become ‘the dog artist’, and it felt like a dead end.
Dogs had been my subject matter for so long, and my best dog ever, Stella , my muse – had died. I did not know how deeply her absence would affect me until I realized I could not do one more dog painting. So I moved on to work that came from completely different places in my heart.
But recently, I was contacted by one of those many, many, lovely people who had commissioned me in the past for a portrait, to do a companion piece of his new dog, to hang beside the old (sadly, deceased ) dog. Before I could stop , I heard myself saying YES. Then I panicked, thinking – I don’t know if I can even go back there. Why , oh why did I agree to this? But having committed to it, I just started to paint my way out of it. The painting came together so quickly, it even surprised me. But I was working from a less than helpful photograph and found over the course of a few days that I needed to consult with the client for advise and help. Five or ten years ago, sending instant messages with a photo on an iPhone was not even an option. But as we emailed back and forth, I would draw a correction, change the back round color, send it in a snap and make changes immediately. We were working TOGETHER on the painting! Something I never would have done in the past – not because technology was not there yet, but because I was more territorial about my art years ago. It was MY painting. MY interpretation. MY vision. My ego. I was shocked that this collaboration did not bother me in the least. In fact, I was very much enjoying pleasing my client and finding our way together to the happy end of the portrait.
Which leads me back to my muse, Stella. My above average dog. These wonderful creatures we love so much and hold so close to our hearts, have a way of drawing us together and perhaps making us better humans in the end. They are always ‘above average dogs’ to us. I learned we can be ‘above average humans’ to each other as well… with very little effort.