Dogs in Art

Dogs are a common motif in Western art. They’re even called the ‘artist’s best friend’ for their role as companion and life model.

Rough Coated Collie by James Ward, 1809, Yale Center for British Art
Rough Coated Collie

The close and accurate observation of animals is a hallmark of Renaissance (and Baroque) art in general. As the most domesticated and favored of species it’s inevitable that dogs would be well represented in the art world.

Dogs in art symbolize guidance, protection, loyalty, fidelity, faithfulness, watchfulness and love. Most of all, love.

google-art-projectSo with love I’ve started painting dogs. I’m not a pet artist, just an artist that paints things that inspire and move me, or are challenging or especially colorful. In the process of painting dogs I started Googling dog art and found the Google Art Project, a virtual art museum. Yes, virtual ART museum.

Museums from across the world have contributed more than 40,000 high resolution images of artworks. Some are in ‘gigapixel’ format, meaning you can zoom in at brushstroke level. Oh how I love that! It even inspired me to curate my own ‘Man’s Best Friend‘ gallery of dog paintings featuring dog art over several centuries. It’s amazing how intricate and realistic these paintings are. Enough to keep me inspired and in awe…..

Here’s my latest painting, ‘Abby’.

Portrait of Abby

She’s an Australian Shepherd, a breed developed on ranches in the western United States. Despite its name, the breed was not developed in Australia, but rather in the United States where they were seen in the West as early as the 1800s.

The breed rose in popularity with the boom of western riding after World War I, and became known to the general public through rodeos, horse shows, and Disney movies.

But to her mom she’s just plain beautiful!

I couldn’t close without sharing a picture of my own best friend, Monsieur Renoir. He is literally, the ‘artist’s best friend’! Click him to see more pictures. Yes, I take a lot of pictures of him!

Monsieur Renoir
Monsieur Renoir