Dog Days of Summer

My dog is an old yellow lab and I have nicknamed her “Duchess” (not her real name), as she has a very cushy and relaxed life. Sometimes when I am bored and don’t know what to sketch, she ends up in my sketchbook. She’s truly “Man’s best friend”, as she seems to have separation anxiety and wants to be in every room that I am in. This can be endearing or sometimes annoying, depending on the day and the mood I am in.

The Dutchess (or D. for short) has been a wonderful family pet for 12 years. A wriggling little puppy turned into a beautiful, gentle-spirited dog, who loves to be with us. She has been a model over the years for my sketches, mainly because she’s in close proximity. Unlike a model in a studio, she moves alot, so I have had to be adept at capturing her in quick gestures, before a move of the head, or a shift of the body. This can actually be very challenging!

I think she is like the Princess and the Pea. She has 3 dog beds, and lives on the main level. I have placed the beds in strategic locations where she likes to hang out with us, but laminate floors can be hard and she sometimes yanks her beds near one another and plops down. I have lately washed her beds (which plump up in the dryer), and stack a couple together. She comes over, sniffs the double layer, climbs on the poofed beds and lays down in bliss. I think it’s pretty amusing!

I typically use a Pitt pen or Micron pen to sketch her, then go back in with watercolors. She has a creamy white and carmel-colored coat, which I just can’t replicate with watercolor. The best I did was a few years back when I did a pet portrait of her in acrylic paints…

No doubt about it, D. had given me many years of pleasure as a pet (and some headaches too!). My young adult daughter has taken picture after picture of the dog in tons of moments, which capture her so well. We scroll back sometimes and look at them, I’m convinced my daughter will have the capacity to make a very nice shrine for the dog when she dies!

But for now, I have my sketches… and that’s enough for me to enjoy my dog days of summer!


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