Rosa, 2012 Oil on linen 14 × 10 inches
Rosa, 2012
Oil on linen 14 × 10 inches

This is a picture of our beloved dog Rosa (who we named after the great artist who also painted animals and was a strong female protagonist of art history, Rosa Bonheur), at our cabin home with roses in the background. She was a wonderful apricot poodle, who we loved and adored, who we first got as a companion to our German Shepherd Julian in 2000, and lived fourteen years since she recently passed away last summer, sadly. We had another dog, Love, who died as a puppy tragically, which sent us into a deep depression, and lead to us leaving New York and the art world in 1999. Rosa was from the same breeder—the only one in Dog Fancy who listed her name and number and wasn’t a puppy farm, and Rosa was smart and sweet, a little reserved, but loving and wonderful. We loved giving her hugs and kisses and earning her respect and trust, and she was a constant companion. I painted this while she was still alive but older. She had suffered through the loss of Julian, who died of old age and was like a husband to her, and we had adopted little Michelangelo after some months of mourning, who was like a tenacious son for her, so at this point in her life she was a grand dame who had seen much of the world, but still had energy and was a cool, mellow dog. It was hard for her to look in the camera, but I got this photo of her and wanting to remember her at this point in her life, and the beauty of the cabin surrounding her, painted this image. I think, as I get older, some of the best pictures are like the old trope of it doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, it is what it conjures within the artist to make a work that has a life of its own, and some of my favorite works by painters are those they have done of their pets, which are like special children for pet owners in the know. If you can bring your love to your work like your pet, perhaps you can really have something, and its fun to paint the fur in the directional flow that it falls, it almost is like petting them in real life as your are rendering and then, in that activated surface, looking at the work after the fact. Now that she is gone, I’m tremendously glad I as able to paint this while she was still alive, and that I’ll always have this to remember her by.