Let me share a little about myself – dog lover to dog lover. Before I tell you about my background, I want to let you know about my personal goal to help animals in need. I love animals, and not only enjoy creating a special portrait of your pet, but also happily donate a percentage of every commissioned piece to organizations that help our little friends. For 2016 and 2017 my recipient will be Bergin University of Canine Studies. If you want to learn more about their organization go to their website at www.BerginU.edu
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Now on to how I became a canine artist. This first bit won’t surprise you – I’ve always had two consistent loves in my life: dogs and art! From the time I was born in Wisconsin, there were always dogs in our home – anywhere from one to three dogs at a time. I learned early on that dogs are great companions and I developed a deep appreciation of and fascination with their unique beauty. I think I’ve always seen the world through the eye of an artist, although I didn’t know it then. When I was about thirteen, I wanted to give a special gift to my mother (also a dog lover). I decided to draw every dog my family had ever had…past and present! A big undertaking for such a little girl – but I was up for it and I drew on. They were 5×7 graphite drawings on ivory colored paper, all framed in black, and they still hang on the stairway wall in my childhood home.
Little did I know then that this project would be the start of a lifelong pursuit of canine art. Now, as then, my illustrations reveal a personal and deep appreciation for the complex and loving nature that is the dog and the profound relationships that they can have with us.
Each breed and individual dog is so different, and these differences are fascinating to me. Golden Retrievers, for example, have some shared characteristics as a breed, but can vary greatly across the shape of their head, shape and color of their eyes, and color and texture of their hair … amazing! Beyond physical characteristics, as you think about the dog in your life, even their unique personality is somehow reflected in their appearance. Their eyes can be soft or intense, their ears upright and confident, or gently back and more demure. That’s what I capture in my portraits! And then there are the mixed breeds, so fascinating with combinations that only nature could put together in such a pleasing way. Just looking at the unique patterns within the dog’s coat is amazing to me. Sometimes I can get engrossed in the light hitting one specific curl or how a shadow falls across an eye. The best part is looking into their eyes. You can see the dog’s personality.
In my role as a dog trainer, I am privy to a special perspective. When I first begin training a dog, their focus is on everything but me. After a short period, however, a connection begins to develop between me and the dog. This is the moment the dog realizes that we are working together and the magic starts. They look into my face, not in a challenging way, but in a way that tells me we understand each other, and they are ready to put their trust and faith in me.