Friday, March 27, 2015


One glorious, sunny day last summer, while plein air painting in the mountains of Hatcher Pass, Alaska, I received a phone call from almost halfway around the world in Phoenix. A lady wanted to know if I could paint her co-worker's dog, Fred. She requested that Fred be in a car because he always made the trip to their workplace to pick up his owner, anxiously looking forward to their reunion. I viewed the pictures she sent me and noted the look of devotion on this beautiful dog's face. I imagined Fred was never truly happy until he had retrieved his owner back home and ushered her through the front door. Sadly, he was no longer able to make this trip. You see, Fred had recently passed away, and this portrait was to be a gift of remembrance. I felt a wash of emotion flood over me up there in the mountains of Hatcher Pass. My heart was pricked by the fact that not far from where I was painting that day, I had enjoyed 11 wonderful years with a very special dog who had been a specific answer to prayer. I knew how it was to lose a best buddy like Fred, and I wanted to do an especially good job on this project.
I needn't have worried, for when I returned to my studio and began work on this commission, to my delight this portrait practically painted itself. I felt as if Fred were smiling and panting doggie breath encouragement over my shoulder as his lovely, velvet-brown eyes and sweet expression took shape. The love he had for his owner practically radiated from my canvas. The painting became more than just another pet portrait of just another beautiful dog. It became a personal reminder from Fred to his owner of how special she had been to him; a remembrance that when the time came for her to leave this world, he would be waiting for her on the other side, ready to retrieve her home and usher her through the front door.

8" x 8" / Oil
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