Oil on canvas 2013
I'm in big trouble. My mama has reminded me that she hasn't had a blog post delivered to her inbox in a few weeks and it's just not good enough and because I write this blog purely to keep my umpteen fans
parents happy…here we go Mum. This one is for you.
I have a daughter in her last year of school. It's busy and stressful and our family life seems to have been put on hold whilst we guide and navigate our almost adult child through the last few months of study needed to get her into the university of her choice next year.
I'm beavering away in the studio during the day and busy being a nutritionist, taxi driver and study motivator into the evening and on the weekends…the blog hasn't stood a chance of being maintained with my motivation currently sidetracked.
So this is how I find myself blogging a painting I finished in DECEMBER. Yep...8 months ago...
After a busy year of painting for exhibitions, art prizes and commissions for other people, I tend to devote the tail end of the year to family paintings. Last Christmas I gave my husband a painting (which I have also forgotten to blog about!) and a pet portrait for my mum.
Detail of 'Gypsy Rose'
Gypsy Rose is my mum's beloved fur child and the best cat that she has ever been blessed to know. A cat that just arrived in her garden one day and never left despite Mum's every attempt to find where she came from. 'Gypsy', the perfect name for a free-spirited and nomadic feline, who arrived skinny and undernourished and now lives in a perpetual state of chubby Romany royalty.
We are an extended family of animal lovers…many cats and dogs have graced our homes over the generations. Today I pondered what it is that draws humans to have pets in our lives. For me the answer is simple…my pets, my beloved fur kids, they make me happy. Their love is so pure and unconditional and simple that it's easy to love them back. In fact, if God was to ask me to choose between my art (which also gives me great joy) or never having a dog in my life again, my choice, without doubt would be to pack up my studio and never lift a paint brush again. EVER.
Pets, despite the responsibly involved, the steep vet bills, the commitment to their health and well-being and the inevitable heart-break of watching them grow old and the knowledge that it will often be our children's first experience of death and loss of a well-loved family member. Despite all this, we still love and actually crave their part in our lives.
I think we desire their love because it's so incredibly easy to make pets happy; a warm lap, a pat on a head, throwing a ball, the gift of a tasty morsel of chicken or corner of a piece of toast and they are completely and utterly, ecstatically happy and don't hold back in displaying that joy. As human beings with an emotional desire to be loved, to be needed and wanted and to know our very presence or absence makes a difference to another living creature is paramount to our own happiness and is given to us by our fur friends. As I write, I have a cat wrapped along my shoulders, on the back of the couch, purring with cheerful surrender, for no other reason then she is near me.
Pets, especially dogs, always display pure unadulterated love. They love us, minus the emotional
stupidity of humans. Pets don't think to hold back love in case they can get something better later, they don't have worries about their day or hurts about yesterday. They don't sulk, talk back or get bored with our conversation. They just give and receive love with uncomplicated rapture. We need that and it's not something we easily get from all of our human interactions.
The delight of pets has now started to evolve in my artwork…6 out of my ten paintings so far this year have portrayed dogs and their humans. I get a real buzz out of painting a gorgeous pooch. Such…good…fun. Maybe, just maybe, pet portraits will become my area of expertise…maybe.
Anyway…it has also been a way of me capturing my ageing retriever as a forever heirloom for my girls.
'Girl's Best Friend' Winner - Animal Art Awards 2012
'The Ripple Effect'
Oil on Canvas - 2013
I better finish up before I start getting morose about how much time we have left with our senior citizen pooch.
Sigh. Not long enough.