Helen always had a way with dogs - UPDATED, she likes it!

Terri

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This one’s for my mom – her birthday is next month and she’ll be 97. She has all her faculties and can be a lot of fun. Her main love has always been dogs – any kind, any breed, mutt or pedigree. She moved into an assisted living facility a couple years ago and was able to take her dog with her. He developed diabetes, so at the age of 94 she learned how to give him insulin shots twice a day. He took ill and died last year, and she knows she won’t get another dog, and it’s been a sad adjustment.

Meanwhile, as I’ve been leafing through my old art and collage books, I came across an exercise that intersperses family photos with collage and painting. I started rounding up photos of all her dogs, starting with the ones we had when I was a kid, and planning this little vignette.

This is on a 12x12” canvas. I painted the background with Titanium white acrylic and pressed a sheet of tissue paper into the wet paint, crinkling it for background texture. Once dried, I sketched out the house shape and window. For some reason, I really agonized over a color palette, trying several versions, before deciding on a basic 1950’s, mid-century palette, which would suit her timeline of young adulthood very well. Everything was pastel at the time: pale pink, light blue, pistachio green and light yellows. I had to mix the pistachio green and the pinks to get the tones I was after.

The skirt on the figure is a piece of raw canvas that I colored with Neocolor II crayons, and spread the color with brush and water. Once dried, I used strips of masking tape so I could add the white stripes, then cut it all to fit the little figure, which is on heavy watercolor paper and able to be painted on directly. I added a strip of Washi tape for a belt, and used a black Micron pen to outline the figure, window and chair.

The photos: her headshot is one I cut from a photo from the late 1960’s. The dogs: she is “holding” George, a miniature poodle and the dog I remember having the longest as a kid. Suzy, standing on the chair, is a Fox terrier mix that was her very first dog as a married adult in the mid-1950’s. I remember her living until I was about 12, she had a good long life.

Next to Suzy is Gordy, a black standard poodle. On the far right seated is Tasha the Airedale – mom’s first dog in many years and the first dog she got after she retired. Next to mom on the right is Sophie, a cockapoo, and on her left on the leash is little Coco, a brown poodle mix. In the foreground looking up is Jasper, another poodle mix, her last dog who just died last year.

I scanned some photos from old family albums to get the older dog photos and resized/flipped them as needed to arrange them around her. Three of the photos are pictures I took myself.

The title I gave to the piece is simply a true statement: she always had a way with dogs, adopting only rescue dogs that needed special patience and training, in addition to routine obedience training – and every single one of these dogs had her undivided attention while she worked with them.

As usual, I thought this would be a quick piece but it took much longer, as I hesitated and made changes along the way. I’m quite sick of the thing at this stage and ready to gift it to her in a few weeks! :LOL: I hope she likes it.


Helen and dogs, final, resized.jpg



I'm curious about reactions - is the "cheese" level kinda high on this? Too high? All comments welcomed and appreciated - thanks for looking!
 
I think it's lovely. I must say I scrolled back up to see if it was you or Ayin. I can definately see the influence in the color choice and stitching. I think your mom will be happy in such a beautiful background. Personal preference but I would have drawn one or two of the dogs just to tie in with your mom.
 
Oh my gosh Terri this is absolutely amazing! Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman and what a big heart she must have to have given so much to her dogs over the years. I love the vintage colors and her dress and all of those precious dogs. The slight texture helps give it a little age so that's just perfect! She will LOVE this!
 
Wayne, Donna - you've instantly eased my mind on this one! Thank you both. ❤️


I must say I scrolled back up to see if it was you or Ayin. I can definately see the influence in the color choice and stitching.
Whoa! Comparisons to Ayin are quite a compliment, but I do get it. Their love of pink is well documented. :LOL: But this really was dictated by a 50s color palette. The painted stitches were in the reference example I followed.
Personal preference but I would have drawn one or two of the dogs just to tie in with your mom.
I actually tried that, and decided to stick with the photos. It seemed better to have the dogs all the same and let her figure be the standout. Little things like this are what made this project drag on.


Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman and what a big heart she must have to have given so much to her dogs over the years.
Thank you for saying that, Donna. ❤️ We kids grew up with not only dogs, but a cat or two, parakeets, and my brother's gerbils. Definitely helps instill love for animals!
 
This one’s for my mom – her birthday is next month and she’ll be 97. She has all her faculties and can be a lot of fun. Her main love has always been dogs – any kind, any breed, mutt or pedigree. She moved into an assisted living facility a couple years ago and was able to take her dog with her. He developed diabetes, so at the age of 94 she learned how to give him insulin shots twice a day. He took ill and died last year, and she knows she won’t get another dog, and it’s been a sad adjustment.

Meanwhile, as I’ve been leafing through my old art and collage books, I came across an exercise that intersperses family photos with collage and painting. I started rounding up photos of all her dogs, starting with the ones we had when I was a kid, and planning this little vignette.

This is on a 12x12” canvas. I painted the background with Titanium white acrylic and pressed a sheet of tissue paper into the wet paint, crinkling it for background texture. Once dried, I sketched out the house shape and window. For some reason, I really agonized over a color palette, trying several versions, before deciding on a basic 1950’s, mid-century palette, which would suit her timeline of young adulthood very well. Everything was pastel at the time: pale pink, light blue, pistachio green and light yellows. I had to mix the pistachio green and the pinks to get the tones I was after.

The skirt on the figure is a piece of raw canvas that I colored with Neocolor II crayons, and spread the color with brush and water. Once dried, I used strips of masking tape so I could add the white stripes, then cut it all to fit the little figure, which is on heavy watercolor paper and able to be painted on directly. I added a strip of Washi tape for a belt, and used a black Micron pen to outline the figure, window and chair.

The photos: her headshot is one I cut from a photo from the late 1960’s. The dogs: she is “holding” George, a miniature poodle and the dog I remember having the longest as a kid. Suzy, standing on the chair, is a Fox terrier mix that was her very first dog as a married adult in the mid-1950’s. I remember her living until I was about 12, she had a good long life.

Next to Suzy is Gordy, a black standard poodle. On the far right seated is Tasha the Airedale – mom’s first dog in many years and the first dog she got after she retired. Next to mom on the right is Sophie, a cockapoo, and on her left on the leash is little Coco, a brown poodle mix. In the foreground looking up is Jasper, another poodle mix, her last dog who just died last year.

I scanned some photos from old family albums to get the older dog photos and resized/flipped them as needed to arrange them around her. Three of the photos are pictures I took myself.

The title I gave to the piece is simply a true statement: she always had a way with dogs, adopting only rescue dogs that needed special patience and training, in addition to routine obedience training – and every single one of these dogs had her undivided attention while she worked with them.

As usual, I thought this would be a quick piece but it took much longer, as I hesitated and made changes along the way. I’m quite sick of the thing at this stage and ready to gift it to her in a few weeks! :LOL: I hope she likes it.


View attachment 38138


I'm curious about reactions - is the "cheese" level kinda high on this? Too high? All comments welcomed and appreciated - thanks for looking!
Lovely. A nice tribute. No way too cheesy! Colours work really well. To my mind.
 
LOVE this Terri! You know I'm a fan of pink, and it's so awesome with the yellow. I love your mom's outfit the most, but wait, maybe I love the dogs, because I LOVE dogs! NOT cheesy, so cool. The stitching around the house is a great touch. It is your own, by the way. It's got your recent vibe. Helen will absolutely dig it. (At first, I accidentally typed "dog" it. Ha ha.) ♥️ This is a great one!
 
Jennie, Ayin - thank you both so much for the kind words! ❤️ The 1950s color palette gives you lots of choices, so it started being fun once I finally got my arrangement settled.

I'm glad the cheese factor doesn't seem to be overwhelming. ;)
 
Terri, this is just special! Your Mom will love it, and yes, I double checked too, to see if it was Ayin’s when I saw the style of the clothing and the stitching. :)You really did yourself proud on this! Let us know what Helen thinks of it.
 
I'm so happy this brought you a smile and nice memories, Jo! Thank you so much for sharing that. ❤️


Sno, thank you for the kind words!
Let us know what Helen thinks of it.

I definitely will. 🥰
 
Not cheesy at all, I think it's adorable. I just love the style of it! It makes me smile.
 
Mom's birthday was this past weekend. We went out to dinner and then headed back to her apartment for some insanely delicious goodies and gift-giving.

I watched her open it. I could tell by her expression she really did like it (I was afraid she'd look at it and say, "Huh?").

Mom's birthday 1, resized.jpg



After she really had a chance to look at everything she almost cried!

Mom's birthday 2, resized.jpg





This one's a bit blurry but the hubby took it. Heh.

birthday gift, resized.jpg



Even though this project induced some some anxiety over the palette decisions and trying to round up all the dog images that would work, I'm glad I did it. Now I can really put it behind me. :LOL: Thanks for looking!
 
Oh boy…do I love everything about this…or WHAT?! Seeing your mom’s reaction warms the cockles of my cold little heart. (And really makes me wish my own mom was still around.) Anyway, good going, lovely daughter.
 
Oh thanks for sharing her reaction. Priceless! I knew she would love it. ❤️
 
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