Well, it starts with the idea of the Airedale Terrier…my Dutch grandmother originally recommended the breed, and this was a wonderful gift to our family. In the picture on the left, this is me around the year 2010 and my Airedale, my first child really, Wolfgang (b. 1997). He was our third Airedale and where my painting journey started. I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, living there until 2005, when I moved to Chicago for work, then to New York City in 2006. At that point I had to make a difficult decision – Wolfgang had a better life with my parents on their rambling country property than he could ever have in a small apartment with me in the metropolis. Additionally, he had the company of my parents dog, Mr. Luke (b. 2001), and they both went to work every day – they were well adjusted office dogs, well before office dogs became a thing. And so I left him with my parents, and although this was very hard for me, I wouldn’t have been able to offer him the same quality of life.
New York City was where I decided to first put Wolfgang and canvas together. I was lonely and missed my boy who was by then 8 years old, so I brought him to me by painting him. Wolfgang was a great friend and guardian for my family, and even to this day (he died Nov 17 2010) we miss him dearly for his companionship and the lessons he taught us, mainly to love life, and to look after each other. Back to 2006, as mentioned, my parents had by this time brought in our 4th family Airedale, Luke, and like the Airedales before him, Luke came into our lives with his own very distinct personality – he was typically a little bashful and self conscious yet with a love for flowers and possessed a fantastic sense of humor. He became a fun subject to paint because I relished expressing his personality through different colours and enjoyed capturing his posture.
My brother, saddened by the loss of Wolfgang in 2010, picked up a mixed breed (Labradooodle x St. Bernese Mountain Dog) named Monty (b. 2010), introducing a black and white dog to the mix, and a new dynamic to my painting exercise.
Mr. Luke passed away in 2013, I think from a broken heart from the passing of the Wolfman, who he just adored. Medically, he was consumed by cancer.
Monty is still with us today and seems to possess character traits from the earlier family dogs…funny how that happens.
Since I started painting our family dogs, I branched out to paint friend’s dogs and a couple of cats so far, and hope to continue practicing to develop my skills.
I also became involved with the Airedale Terrier Rescue of the Virginias group, where I made additional friends through fostering and grooming rescues. You can read more here.