Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Johnny RIngo - A Roping Horse

This is a painting of Johnny Ringo.  The painting was a surprise Christmas gift from two loving daughters to their father.  

The daughters had Johnny Ringo bathed and groomed and met me at the stable.   We took a number of photos of him - inside the barn - outside the barn - in a halter - bridled up.   After reviewing the photos we all agreed on a photo of him in full tack. 

He was such a trooper during our photo shoot. 

Thank you girls for having my art be part of a special gift to a wonderful man whom we affectionately
Tacking up Johnny Ringo

Johnny Ringo ready for photos
Did he just give me the raspberry???

Portrait of Johnny Ringo
refer to as Cowboy Ed.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Tucker - An Irish Setter - Pastel Paintings

Just finished a double commission of an Irish Setter named Tucker.

The owner had me photograph her dog, Tucker, for a painting for her.  She had a brainstorm and decided to have me paint a mini painting of the same reference photo for Tucker's breeder as a gift.   It was very sunny out on the day we took photos and, as a result, the photos were not the correct color of Tucker.  So, to make his paintings accurate, the color of the paintings needed to be much darker than the reference photos.

We were all at the same dog show and the breeder had been chatting with me not knowing a gift was forthcoming.   It was killing me not to tell her I had a painting for her - but it was not my gift to give!   Later, after Tucker's owner had picked up both paintings from me, I saw the breeder headed my way with a smile on her face.   What a fun day for all three of us!

Thank you to Bonnie for allowing me to be part of your "family" and for choosing me to paint your boy....twice!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bling - Best in Puppy Sweepstakes

Bling "Rendition Treasure Every Minute CGC" (CH Willowbrook Artists Rendition JH x CH Rusticwood Spellbound CGC) going Best in Sweepstakes at the Irish Setter Club of Central California under sweeps judge, Gary Brown DVM.  

She had wonderful placements all weekend.   On Saturday she went Best of Opposite Sex in Sweeps and on Sunday she won her sweeps class - with some extremely lovely competition.

The first two days of the show she placed second in Bred-by Exhibitor (out of classes of 7 and 6).

If only I had her energy - I started running out of steam after day 2,
but sure had a wonderful time.   Thank you to the Irish Setter Clubs of Central California, of the Pacific, and Sacramento as well as to the judges that gave us a placement.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Show Dogs Escape to the Seashore" by Marsha Hall Brown

For those who know me well, you know I've been creating illustrations for a childrens' book written by AKC judge and dog writer, Marsha Hall Brown.

The book is finished and is in the editing / copyright stages.

Here is a fun teaser line....

The dogs in the ring and the dogs in the gallery cry out in dismay, hoping to stop the imposter by alerting the attention of the show officials. Who is this intruder? Who ruined the show?  
I can't wait to share the illustrations with you.   It has been such a fun experience and I've found a love for illustrating that I didn't expect.   There is a whole new element of creativity that has been found in my journey as an artist. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chelsea - an English Setter

This is Chelsea - a beautiful English Setter.   My journey with her owners began with a painting of her house mate, Tate.   I was commissioned to paint him a while back.   His owners were so happy with his painting they decided they wanted a matching painting of Chelsea.

Since we do not live in the same area, they provided me with a photograph of Chelsea.   I'd been fortunate to meet Tate and personally photograph him for his painting (always love when that happens!)

Chelseas painting
Portrait of Chelsea

Here is Chelsea's painting, her photograph and the painting of Tate so you can see the pair of paintings.  They are mini paintings.   I just love the mini paintings.  The minis are just a perfect size to put anywhere in your home or display on a table top easel.   I have a mini painting of my girl, Monet, in my studio on an antique dresser that houses art supplies.

Hope you enjoy the paintings - I sure enjoyed painting them!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Irish Setter Greeting Cards "Steady!"

There are new greeting cards available on my website at

The cards feature two Irish Setters in the field on point.   This artwork is also available in a limited edition print.

The cards are blank inside and packages include 8 cards and 8 envelopes.  The packages are $15.00. 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Coonie - Australian Cattle Dog

Coonie was a very special girl.   Her owner, Tracy, was explaining their relationship to me and how close they were.  During the conversation I said to her, "Coonie sounds like she was your velcro dog."  We are very fortunate when we have that special relationship with a dog - where they are so close to you it is almost like you are one.   Jewel was my velcro dog. 

Tracy and I understood each other.   The loss of a velcro dog is heart wrenching.   No words are needed, you just understand.

There were only two reference photos for Coonie's portrait.  One was measurably more clear in detail than the other.   The better of the two photos had a view which was looking almost straight down on Coonie.  This was an angle I'd not painted.   The reference photo was over exposed so the colors on Coonie were a bit washed out.  The second photo was the one I used to capture the correct coloring of Coonie.

Tracy and her husband are "horse people" and we decided we would add some equine related objects to Coonie's portrait.   They took a number of photos of items in their horse arena.   It took me days to decide which item or items would be used in the painting.

The boots are placed strategically so the viewer understands we are looking down on the dog.   Their height and shading add a feeling of dimension.  The headstall is flat with the brow band raised so again, you understand the view point is down.  The detail in the headstall was minimized so that item does not steal the focal point which belongs to Coonie.  The reins were placed under Coonie's front paws to assist in achieving the view of looking down on the subjects.

If you look closely into Coonie's eyes you can see Tracy taking the photo of her.   That is generally the most important part of my paintings - the eyes (unless the painting features a sleeping animal etc).   A great deal of time was spent on Coonie's eyes.   If the eyes are not right, the painting won't be right.
It is always so special to paint a persons animals.  Thank you to Tracy for the choosing me to paint her special velcro girl.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jenny Willow - Yellow Lab
This is Jenny Willow.   She is the sweetest dog you'd ever want to meet.  I've been fortunate to have painted her portrait twice.

In this painting, her owners wanted her playing at the beach.   If there is one thing that is important to Jenny Willow (aside from treats!) it is her orange ball.

We had a taken a number of photos of her near her home and her owners had some photos of her romping at the beach.   Initially, I thought we'd use one of the land photos I'd taken and I'd simply put a beach scene behind her.  However, one of her owner's photos was awesome.  It had great lighting, great waves, and a fabulous reflection of her in the water.   The only thing missing was her orange ball!

To create her painting it was necessary to use a number of photos.   There was the beach scene of course, then we decided to not have her bandana on in the painting necessitating the use of a photo with no bandana, and of course....a photo of the orange ball.

My easel had all these wonderful photos taped around it.   In the end we had Jenny Willow in her element - at the beach with her orange ball.
This painting makes me smile - hope it does you too!

Monday, February 17, 2014

"Monet" CH Rusticwood Spellbound CGC
Monet is now seven years old - it breaks our hearts to think of her as a did that happen?  Her pups are 16 months old and she has been getting a little envious of us taking Faith and Bling to the dog shows.   So, we are going to bring her out now and then.  

On January 26, 2014 she won Best of Opposite Sex at the Orange Empire Kennel Club - a major win towards her grand championship.   She now has 16 GCH points with very little showing.  

She is such a great companion.   We couldn't have asked for a more special dog.   Thank you (again) to Carolyn Dison for entrusting the "pink" girl to us.   She is not only in our home but in our hearts.

Friday, January 31, 2014

This is Silver Spots.  He is a "Savanah" cat.  If you've not heard of a Savanah - take a moment and google it.   They are amazing cats - and HUGE cats.   I've known Silver Spots since he was a baby and was thrilled when his owners asked me to paint him.

For the photo shoot, we took about 150 photos.  He is such a poser and in the end, his owners couldn't decide which photo was best to use as the primary pose.   They gave that job to me.   Talk about pressure!!!   He is such a regal cat that I decided to paint him in an old style feeling.  I wanted to capture as the old Masters did their subjects.   To do so the background needed to be very dark and rich so the lighter colors of his fur and eyes would pop.   The chose to have a dark frame to enhance the effect of the painting.

The end result was exactly what I'd planned and hoped.  When you look at the painting, the background draws you into the subject and your eyes rest there.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A portrait of Dudley

This is Dudley. He was a rescue that went into his forever home as a senior. His last few years were spent in the most wonderful home with a loving family. It always breaks my heart to know a senior dog needs a home. Fortunately for Dudley, his previous owner was able to place him where they did and did not just have to walk away from him. All dogs deserve at least that.

The reference photo had Dudley laying on a red leather piece of furniture. The red of the furniture took some of the focal point off of the subject (Dudley), so in the painting, the artist liberty was taken to change things a bit. It is important to me not to simply copy a photo, but rather use the photo as a road map to ensure I am capturing that animal specifically.

Thank you to Dudley's family for giving him such a great life in his final years and for choosing me to paint him!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

This is a mini painting of Kate. It was done using soft pastel. Most of my pastels are imported from Europe - using only the best materials available! Kate was a wee pup when the reference photo for this painting was taken. As a young pup she had plenty of whiskers. The whiskers are what made the reference photo so endearing to Kate's owner. For the finished painting, it was very important that the whiskers were part of the painting. Hope you like it as much as we do! Thanks for a taking a peek. If you want to see more of my work - please go to my website at

Bling is a year old!

I can't believe our pups are a year old already! Time goes by too quickly. It seems as if the older I become the faster time passes. We've posted photos of all the pups at a year of age on our website. Here is the link if you want to take a peek.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Miah and Gates - Irish Setters

This is a portrait of Miah and her pup, Gates. I've known Gates since he was 12 weeks old. It is hard to believe he is all grown up, a finished champion and now a Best in Specialty Show winner. His dam, Miah, is stunning with the softest eyes. Their owners had commissioned a portrait of the two of them 2012. We knew we would all be at the same show and planned accordingly. Gates was with them at the show and we had several opportunities to take photos of him for the painting. They had supplied me with photos of Miah to use as reference material for a non commissioned painting the year prior. The goal was to have the painting almost finished and then work on it at the 2013 Irish Setter Club of America National Specialty. The finished painting could then go home with them. Murphy (as in "Murphy's Law") decided to rain (literally) on our parade...I mean dog show. The weather at the show was lovely at times and not so lovely at other times. Long story short, the painting was finished in the hotel room rather than in my booth as a public demonstration. You know what they say about the best laid plans. The good news was - as my husband and I were driving home to California from Virginia, the portrait was on it's way to Michigan. Thank you to Ken and Debbie for commissioning me to paint your beautiful babies! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Irish Setter Painting - Cady

It is always so wonderful when the owner of the dog in my paintings wants to personally share their story about their pet. Sometimes, it is just too emotional. When I was commissioned to paint Cady, a number of referenced photos were supplied. The photos had Cady as a pup,different fun family photos and then some photos of her shortly before

she was lost. Cady was 7 when she left her family prematurely. That is so incredibly unfair. In discussing Cady's photos with her family, collectively it was decided to use one of those last photos. I thank her family for the honor of painting her and hope the painting keeps Cady close to their hearts. Here is Cady's story: Cady came into my life and heart on June 2, 2001 at the very young age of 7 weeks….it was love at first site. She was just a roly poly of red fur with the biggest paws I had ever seen. I should have known she was going to be a big girl. She sat in my lap all the way home from Easley, South Carolina and thus began our extremely close bond and love. It was obvious from the beginning that Cady was extremely smart and strong willed. In just a few short months I would be so glad to see that strong will. Through Cady’s puppyhood, we spent almost every moment together….she was my shadow from the very beginning to the end. Cady was regal, she was sweet, she had an old soul, and was oh so smart. I mean scary smart. Cady loved everyone she met and everyone loved her. If I told her she couldn’t do something she would look at me and you could see her thinking it through. Cady was definitely stubborn and had a sense of what was fair. If I had to choose one word to describe Cady it would be “love”. When you looked into her beautiful brown eyes, you could see the love Cady had in her huge heart. Sometime during the night of July 24 or early morning of July 25,2008, Cady developed bloat and passed away. What do I miss the most about Cady? Everything! Her beauty, her clown-like personality, her intelligence, her sweetness, her jumping around like a frog playfulness, her Chewbaka talks, her barks, her always being in the way when I was in the kitchen, counter surfing, hogging the couch and bed, her cuddles, her presence…..but most of all her love. Cady was one very special Irish girl who will be loved and missed until our joyful reunion at Rainbow Bridge. Cadybug… are my heart…..