Monday, May 25, 2015

Chicks are hatching

Here is a video of our hatching chicks.  

https://youtu.be/SJw7--f_b9w

There is a fun story behind the chicks.   Not sure when I started wanting a chicken - seems like forever.   Why - gosh - who knows.   They are a lot more work than ever expected, but I sure enjoy them.

My first chicken was named Belle.   She was a black beauty sex link and I got her as a tiny chick back in probably 1991.   At that time I did murals with my artwork.  For fun, I hid Belle Chicken in all my murals - regardless if they were for a children's room or a commerical account.   I can remember when I painted a mural at our veterinarians' clinic.   The mural was to feature dogs and cats of course.  Then, hiding behind a fence was...Belle Chicken.   My veterinarian's wife was looking over the mural when it was finished.  She started laughing and said, "IS THAT A CHICKEN IN THERE!??"  Yes, it was!

So, back to our chicks.... here is their story!

Our chicks are hatching... we had no clue if the eggs had been fertilized. There is a wild bantam hen and a standard rooster that hang out by our barn. The little Bantam hen has been around for years.  She really doesn't officially belong to anyone.  Some years back she flew into our pool escaping a raccoon.   She is a cute little thing but quite wild.   So, she had made a nest and the dogs found it in the horse arena 21 days ago. She had just laid eggs in it that day.  I know that for sure as the dogs would have told me about it previously. 

We removed the eggs and the took them along with the bantam hen into our chicken coop with our three Silkies. She was not safe from predictors where her nest was.  It was also next to a drain pipe and a serious rain storm was headed our way and expected to hit that night. 

The Bantam literally flew the coop ha ha. I mean she officially flew out of there. Guess that's were the saying comes from. so the Silkies ( Daisy and Lilac ) have been sitting on the eggs. The two of them together have been partners in the nest box...and to our surprise the eggs had been fertilized and they are now hatching.

Everything we'd read indicated that the standard roos (rosters) would not be able to fertilize the bantam hen due to their size difference. Guess everything I read was wrong or the hen has been around the neighborhood and has other boyfriends.....though the chick that has hatched is yellow and there are no other white roosters in the neighborhood so, I think white boy is a daddy.  He is a big jolly fellow and I've painted him a number of times.   He follows me around and is really quite gentle.   For treats, I give him kernels of corn and he takes them one by one from my fingers as if he were taking them from a baby.  So, I'm pretty fond of him.   Sure hope all the chicks that hatch are girls....so don't need another boy around here!

Will post more videos and pictures as we get them!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Featured artist in Dog Gone Art Magazine


I am the featured artist in this issue of Dog Gone Art.   My work and story are on pages 5 - 26.  I was pleasantly surprised at how many pieces of my work are in the article.  Thank you to the publisher for selecting my work.

http://www.doggoneartmagazine.com/component/k2/latest-issueDog Gone Art Magazine - Featured Artist

To view the article from the above link (if having trouble) once you have clicked on "read more" under the cover of the latest issue (my painting of an Australian Cattle Dog standing next to her owner) scroll down and click on "down load" to down load the PDF file.

Hope you enjoy the article!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Willy and the Truck

This is a painting recently finished.  It was a gift so I had to be very quiet when contacting Amy.   We didn't want her boyfriend, Nick, to find out what she was doing for his birthday.

Amy wanted to have their dog, Willy, in the cab of Nick's truck.  Amy sent me a number of photos of Willy and a number of photos of his truck.   The goal was to have Willy seated in the truck.   It didn't work out for Amy to take photos of Willy actually seated in the truck - sometime surprises are difficult to pull off.  So, I needed to combine a few photos.     Amy shared some back ground information on Nick, Willy and the truck.   Here is their story!......


http://www.dawnsecord.com

This little jalopy… I mean, gem is a 1950 Chevy truck.  It is unique in several ways; it has a 1990 Chevy S10 frame underneath, it sits on airbags and it also has an 8 cylinder Chevy engine in it.  People are quite surprised when it screams by them on the highway or when they see it going up or down on it’s airbags! 



Nick paints and restores classic cars for a living and sometimes people are surprised that he wants to keep the truck in it’s patina exterior.  I can’t tell you how many times he has been asked, “So, are you going to paint it?” We love it the way it is and another little dent or rust mark only adds to it’s character!  Plus, we can drive it on the back country roads without worrying about every little pebble or rock hitting it.  Now, the next car will be a different story, that will be the “Sunday car”.



As for Willy, he is a 3 year old American Bully, a newer breed recognized by the UKC and of course, the ABKC.  He is owned by Nick and Amy, who have owned English Bulldogs together for the last 12 years but decided to venture into another breed with Willy.  He is, indeed, a different kind of dog.  He is more energetic than a bulldog and more needy, if that is possible.  He has such facial expressions and body movements, especially when he’s happy or excited about a new toy, that it makes us laugh to ourselves and with each other at times.  He is such a character, quite possibly our favorite dog of the 4 that we’ve owned so far, just don’t let the others know that.  With his handsomely cropped ears and long tail, we’ve always said that he looks like a big cat and therefore, he has always had the nickname of Willy Cat and actually is mostly just called Cat.  He loves toys of all kind but mostly his big, black Kong, sleeping in the bed (usually taking up ¾ of his mother’s (Amy’s) pillow!), eating grape tomatoes off of the vine and howling with his dad (Nick). 



After 12 and a half years together, we don’t really “do” surprise gifts anymore.  If one of us wants something, we usually discuss it and purchase it together.  However, I wanted to be creative and surprise my “manfriend” for his 31st birthday.  And




what better way to celebrate and surprise him than by incorporating two of his favorite things in an awesome painting, his 1950 Chevy truck and Willy.  I think he will be very surprised AND happy with his gift.  

Thank you Amy for asking me to create this painting for ya'll.  It was so much fun to be part of the surprise!!   Hope you love it Nick!   Please give handsome Willy a treat from me!

Monday, March 16, 2015

My pup

Went to the dog show yesterday and Bling picked up another point.   She is so much fun to show.  Haven't practiced her at all and she went in the ring like a little pro.

Is it illegal to have this much fun with a dog????


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Painting of Bebe



This is Bebe.  She is an English Setter.   I've always loved English Setters.  As a young girl, I just thought the setters were like Siamese cats and came in different colors.  At that time, I wanted a setter in every color.   It is fun to look back at how we viewed life as children.   Embarrassingly I must admit, I also thought a Flat Coated Retriever was a black Irish setter.  

When Bebe's owner contacted me to paint Bebe I was thrilled.  The painting was to be a gift for her husband.   So....we could have no Internet contact, no Facebook contact - we were in a stealth mode because Jennifer's husband could figure just about everything out.   She paid me with cashier's checks.....all stealth.   It is interesting how she handled my waiting list time frame.  Jennifer told her husband that the gift was on back order - ingenious!  Seems like nowadays, everything is on back order.Now, one has to ask, who is the more clever of the two??  This was the first time Jennifer was able to fully surprise Norman!! A win win for both of them.
http://www.dawnsecord.com

http://www.dawnsecord.com/printsforsale.html

http://www.dawnsecord.com/commissioninformation.html

http://www.dawnsecord.com/inthenews.html

To my delight, Jennifer's husband, Norman, called me in person to talk about his gift once it was received.   What a great guy.   He talked about how special dogs were to his family and how the painting brought forth some tears.   Seems like the true gift recipient in this painting was me.   I never expected to meet all the fine people I have through my paintings.

I'd asked Jennifer and Norman to share a little bit about Bebe and this is what they told me:

Bebe is a wonderful 8 year old English Setter.  After a lifetime of dog ownership, she has become my husband's all time favorite. We got Bebe when she was a year old from a breeder. She was shy and immediately took to my husband as her protector. A few weeks after asking Dawn if I could get on her waiting list to do a portrait, within 48 hours, Bebe became totally blind due to SARDS (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome). It has been a difficult adjustment, but Bebe is doing very well. She is totally spoiled and has trained my husband to make her toast for breakfast every morning! Dawn has truly captured her essence and beauty.

Thank you Jennifer (and Norman) for the honor of painting your special girl!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Book Reading at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show - February 17, 2015

We had a wonderful opportunity to have a book reading of our book Show Dogs Escape to the Seashore (authored by Marsha Hall Brown and illustrated by me) while attending the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City on February 17, 2015.

The film crew had seated us on a sofa, surrounded by children, while the breed showing was being conducted.   One of the organizers handed me a black Labrador retriever to hold during the reading.  The lab was so well behaved.  There is no wonder why the labs are such a popular breed!  The children were very focused on Marsha while she was reading to them. 

Marsha turned to "The Great Escape" illustration and asked the children how many dogs were in the illustration.   There was a young boy named Travis who was just adorable.  The children were focusing on the dogs in the illustration












http://www.showdogsescape.com
and they all thought there were 7.  Then Travis proclaimed, "WAIT A MOMENT....I believe there are 8" as he pointed to the hidden puppy who was peeking out of a suitcase!   Good job Travis!

Without question, this was one of the highlights of the trip.   Thank you to the organizers for inviting us to do a book reading.  It was great fun!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Painting of Ozzy

This painting was recently finished of an Irish Setter named Ozzie.

http://www.dawnsecord.com
Ozzy lives on the other side of the Country and I'd been told by a friend that they were grooming this gorgeous dog named Ozzy.   About a year later, Ozzy's owner came to me and wanted me to paint his portrait.   We all knew we wanted to get some great reference material for the painting.   Ozzy's breeder was taking him to a hunt test and had a great opportunity to take some photos in outside lighting.  After some discussions on position and lighting, some really awesome photos were sent my way.  To my delight, there were several great candidates from which to choose.  For the background, the owner wanted some scene that was what one would see out in the field.   In one of the reference photos, there were some light golden tans and subtle sages that reflected fall foliage.   Those were the perfect colors to use behind a dark mahogany dog.   So, I had my background!

I've asked Ozzy's owner to give me a brief story about him and this is what she shared -

  • I discovered Oz when I approached a local breeder looking for a puppy. Knowing I liked big males, she suggested I take Ozzy (as she calls him) home for trial. It was love at first sight but I couldn't adopt the youngster (3 yrs) till I put in a fence! The transition from show kennel to pet wasn't difficult although Oz skidded on my hardwood floors and barked at potted plants. He quickly abandoned his crate for the comfort of a custom-made bed. Then he went to obedience school to become a Canine Good Citizen. After solving the 'crime' at Canine Crime Investigation" camp, the trainer said the boy had a great nose. So last year he went back to the quail fields of his puppy-dom and easily won Jr. Hunt title. Then he started Barn Hunt and despite being 33 in tall excelled in hunting rats and bellying through tunnels. Now he's back working towards his Advanced Jr. Hunt.   He's the happiest when outside whether  field hunting, barn hunting, walking Belt-line trails or relaxing on his pipe bed. 

http://www.dawnsecord.com/dogartgallery.html
A big thank you to Ozzy's mom for having me paint his portrait.   I feel like I know him and look forward to giving him a big hug when I get to meet him in person~

http://www.dawnsecord.com/commissioninformation.html




Monday, February 16, 2015

At the Garden

Gosh...surreal to be here and see everything in person.  What a treat.








Westminster Kennel Club dog show

Here at the show.  So excited.  Gorgeous dogs everywhere.

Running into friends from all over the Country.  Great fun!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dog Writers Association of America award winning illustration!

The Dog Writers Association of America annual awards banquet was this evening. My illustration for the cover of the children's book, Show Dogs Escape to the Sea Shore, written by Marsha Hall Brown, won Best Single illustration. I was awarded the Maxwell Award for this winning illustration. We are so excited! Great way to celebrate and New York City,!!


Barkfest at Bonhams in New York



Saturday, February 14, 2015

We are here!! New York.

Its snowing here in New York City



We are looking forward to an exciting few days.  Meeting up with Marsha and Bob for dinner.  

Our house guest couldn't tell Bling and Faith apart ( no surprise there ) so I painted Bling like I did when she was a pup.  She has a big  yellow spot of paint on her hiney.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

"My Treasures" Limited Edition Print on Canvas

"My Treasures" limited edition print on canvas
Limited Edition Print on Canvas


http://www.dawnsecord.com/printsforsale.html
Photos of painting in process.   

 
Close up - one of the pups

This is my new print.   I thought I'd step out of the box from what people were used to seeing and do an oil painting that was unexpected.  

One of my favorite things to do is paint with a palette knife.  Painting with a palette knife was something I did frequently when I was younger.  Actually, it was uncommon for me to use a brush.   The exciting thing about a palette knife is that there is not the control I have with a brush.   Palette knives are rigid and can easily swipe the paint off a canvas as easily as they can lay it on.   Paint can be laid on thick and dimensional shapes are left in the wake.   I used to be up until all hours; an Irish Setter by my side.   A huge canvas would sit in front of me with an array of palette knives at my fingertips.   The bigger the canvas the better.   Once finished, I'd give the painting to the first person who enjoyed it.   Then 'd go out, purchase a new blank canvas and start all over again. 

When thinking about what I'd like to create to be released at the 2015 ISCA National, old recessed memories about the palette knife and a large painting suddenly were vivid.  I knew how I wanted to paint it, just not what I would paint.  Then it came to me, a mom and pups.   We all love to see little babies with their mom.   Going through my reference photos I came across a photo with the mom looking tenderly down at her babies.  There were five or six photos used for image reference to get the nursing pups in the places that were perfect for my purposes.   I didn't want the pups to jump out at you, I wanted them to be hidden in the coat of their mother.  When Rich and I had the litter two years ago, we were always trying to find the pups which were curled around Monet.  The pups blended in so easily.  So, in the painting, the pups are intertwined with their mother in natural poses.  Can you count how many there are?  If it takes you a moment, my goal was successful.  Though there won't be panic when you can't find one!  

The background was done using the oil paint as a wash after the subjects were almost completed.  I took a large paint brush and saturated the canvas with turpenoid, then another paint brush was loaded with paint and glazed over the wet canvas.  The turpenoid slightly dissolved the paint and the paint ran down the canvas.  This was done out in the grass as it was pretty messy.   Once the colors were satisfactory, the painting was left on the porch to dry (the fumes were pretty extreme.) Then I flipped the painting upside down and used this same technique for the sky.  The end result almost looks like a water color painting but it is oil paint.
 
The painting measures 3 feet x 4 feet.   Sometimes the hardest thing to do is find the perfect name.   My mother thought of the name for this painting.  Her suggestion?  "My Treasures".   Isn't it perfect.   To the mother dog, her babies are her treasures.  To the breeders, all the dogs, mom and pups, are their treasures, to the owners of the pups - the pup certainly becomes their treasure.

The reproductions are going to all be on canvas.   I've done this a few times in the past and love how they turn out.    With the canvas prints, you can frame them with or without glass - your choice.   The 11 x 14 prints are mounted on board.

11 x 14  $75.00
16 x 20  $165.00
20 x 24  $225.00  (artist proofs - to be special orders)
3 feet x 4 feet (artist proofs - to be special orders)

I will be bringing 11 x 14 and 16 x 20 prints to the Irish Setter National as well as one 3 foot by 4 foot to hang as a display.    

The artwork is available for pre-order and is in inventory at this time.   Please contact me by phone, email or click on the below link to purchase directly from my website:

Order by phone:  866-393-7111
Order by email:  DawnSecordArt@gmail.com
Order via website:   

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Monet's first junior hunter pass

We entered Monet in her first hunt test.  She is 8 years old and this has been something that was put on the back burner.  We decided to let her do it before she was any older.

She has always been very confident and very birdy so we had high expectations.  

Her very first time out she gets a pass.

I went out with them to take photos of Rich and Monet out in the field.  They were the last brace of the day.  Can't wait to see the camera's photos when we get home.

Rich handed her off to me to take back to the trailer.  He took this photo with his cell phone.  Kind of cool shot.

Taking photos at the Irish Setter and Vizsla hunt test

the weather is beautiful out here in the desert. People are great and the dogs are gorgeous!