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Posts Tagged ‘dog art’

This blog was started more than 8 years ago (2007), when Cooper entered our lives. For whatever reason, we decided to document his life from the beginning, without any idea as to where it would take us. Little did we know. For two adults, well set in our ways, this dog proved to be the pivot point of lives. Our activities, our friends, and our future all changed in the Spring of 2007 when Cooper joined our family.

I am a photographer by trade. And Patrice is a professional writer/editor. Together, we started the Cooper Project with our own aesthetics and interests. There are nearly 800 posts in this blog, and over 1600 photos so far. And there will be many more.

Here are a few of the portraits of our boy from the beginning, both in studio and the field.

7 weeks (April, 2007)

7 weeks (April, 2007)

14 weeks

14 weeks

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Young Dog with Toy Duck, Oct., 2007

March, 2008

March, 2008

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January 1, 2009

051709_Cooper

May 17, 2009

Cooper_082109

August 21, 2009

052910_0118

May 29, 2010

A satisfied Cooper with a dry topknot

A satisfied Cooper with a dry topknot

Cooper_trading_card

Cooper as trading card

20110803_0068

Realta Rosario Cooper on his 5th Birthday

Realta Rosario Cooper on his 5th Birthday

Ch Realta Rosario Cooper CD RN SH JHU

Ch Realta Rosario Cooper CD RN SH JHU

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20130103_0087

January, 2014

January, 2014

July 2014

July 2014

20150617-811_blog

June 17, 2015

Cooper's final portrait

Cooper’s final portrait

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Now that Tooey’s puppies are in their new homes and she is getting back into her daily routine of being a superb companion animal, I thought that I would share a few images of Tooey from this last week.

Autumn weather came right on schedule to the Pacific Northwest. Not only does that mean rain, wind, sun, cooler temperatures, but it also means that bird hunting season is around the corner.

Basking in the cool showers in her back yard as only an IWS can enjoy.

Basking in the cool showers in her back yard as only an IWS can enjoy.

I have several hunting-related art projects underway that require having the right props to work from. Ms. Tooey is both helpful and critical of my endeavors.

Tooey confirms that this is indeed a rooster pheasant flying through the dining room

Tooey confirms that this is indeed a rooster pheasant flying through the dining room

Before I made delivery on a couple of retro-style metal signs with dog portraits (Boykins in this case), Tooey confirmed that these met her standards. I have ascertained that her look implies that my next series must include and Irish Water Spaniel.

"Say, that looks just like Scarlett" - Tooey has a good eye detail

“Say, that looks just like Scarlett” – Tooey has a good eye detail

Tooey has another weekend of AKC Obedience trial scheduled in a couple of weeks, and that coincides with the opening of the upland bird hunting season in Oregon. So as soon as she leaves the ring (with or without a title) we will be heading to the field for pheasants, chukar, and maybe quail.

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While roaming the streets of Paris last month, Patrice discovered an obscure but delightful museum: Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

Loosely translated, a museum of hunting and hunting art.

So here is my brief history of hunting:

Get a sharp stick and chase something down and hope it doesn’t kill you before you kill it. Better yet, get a dog to do the chasing, and if it is a big dog, maybe it can dispatch the prey at the same time, saving the hunter the aggravation of being mauled and ending up on the wrong end of the food chain. So somewhere between the time of the caveman and the invention of agriculture, hunting with dogs became the best way to stay fed and stay alive.

Documenting this symbiotic relationship with dogs in art is a mark of civilization. This museum is a testament about this relationship as much as is about hunting. The galleries are filled with hundreds of world-class paintings and sculptures depicting our appreciation for canine hunting partners.

This first painting is an example of hunting boar with a sharp stick, at the expense of the dogs and one hunter. Big dogs, bigger boar.

The Hunt of Meleager, Reubens

For those of you who are classical scholars, you may recognize this as the Calydonian Boar of Greek mythology. Here is another woodcut from the 16th century, also depicting the Calydonian Boar being hunted with dogs and sharp sticks.

The Calydonian Boar facing dogs and sharp sticks

If you had the financial resources to outfit your pack, you could have special dog armour woven out of horse hair, a precursor to bullet-proof vests. Light enough to wear, flexible enough to run and hunt in. This detail from a vintage tapestry shows a hound with both head and neck protection, plus a bit of body armour. Notice the section of the hunter running behind the dog with a sharp stick.

In 1620, Isabelle of Habsburg, regent of the Netherlands, commissioned a couple of local painters to glorify her pack of hunting dogs. Peter Paul Reubens and Jan Brueghel worked up this nice painting of Isabelle’s pups with the goddess Diana thrown in for some art history credibility. Check out the little naked dog handler with wings. He has a couple of hounds on leashes with the latest in horse-hair technology, hopefully keeping them boar-proof.

Diana and Her Nymphs Spied on by Satyrs, Ruebens and Brueghel

Boar-proofed hounds

Hunting wolves was not without its challenges, too. Usually, if you had more dogs than wolves, then you could win with numbers.

But wolves bite back.

A bad day to be a wolf

Wolves, like dogs, prefer to go for the throat. Rather than encumber your pack with body armour as in hunting boar or stags, one only needed to protect the neck of your favorite wolf-hunting dog. In this display case, we found a great skull of a wolf and the corresponding collar for the hunting dog. No other explanation is required.

Wolf skull and dog collar for hunting wolves

But not all hunting was for dangerous game. It was discovered that the wily pheasant or partridge could be brought to the table with the aid of a flushing dog. Once people had reasonable firearms loaded with gravel or shot, a whole new sport evolved. (The existence of such sport is the excuse to post this to the blog.) Of course, having such resources usually was the province of upper class. Adding in a nice pack of dedicated spaniels, game keepers, and shooters led to the sport of kings.

Louis XIV had some nice flushing spaniels that he deemed worthy of a large painting. (Wouldn’t this look good over your fireplace in Versailles?)

Diane et Blonde, 1702, Francois Desportes

While the artist Christophe Huet thought that the picture below might just have made a nice composition with a dramatic action sequence, what he was actually recording was a dog that was not steady to the flush. This image set dog training back by a couple of hundred years.

Chien Chassant, Christophe Huet

And speaking of documenting poor dog training, check out this bad girl.

The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature is loaded with remarkable art, taxidermy, weapons (pointed sticks to shotguns), hunting horns, duck calls, and artifacts that all relate to hunting, albeit from a wealthy European’s perspective. But that’s not all.

Sitting quietly in an upholstered chair off in the corner on one of galleries was this snoozing fox. Everyone could use a dead fox on their furniture. Notice that there is no cat hair on this chair and the upholstery is still in great shape.

And not all exhibits were dog oriented. Here is Patrice, checking out another hunting artifact, free-standing in a gallery of bird art.

Paris is mostly about good food, wine, and art. Even so, we did manage to find this one dog-oriented activity to make our vacation well-rounded and balanced.

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Getting into the Irish Water Spaniels as a breed has brought many changes and additions into our lives (as chronicled in this blog), but one of the best things is the amazing people we have met who have become fast friends. One I would like to highlight is Carol.

We have posted numerous times in this blog about one of her dogs, Scarlett, a Boykin Spaniel she co-owns with her husband Norm. While Carol does not actively run Spaniels in hunt tests, she has been an active member, officer, and board director of the Lower Columbia Hunting Retriever Club. A number of the photos I have posted of upland hunting with Norm and Scarlett have been taken by Carol. She does run a Tibetan Terrier in AKC Agility trials and drives horses in competition, so running dogs in hunt tests would just be an unnecessary burden on her time. But in what limited spare time she has, Carol is an Oregon Master Gardener and artist in many mediums.

Last summer at a fund raising event, I was high bidder at a silent auction for a custom-made felted dog sculpture made by Carol. I got to choose my breed, and of course I went with an Irish Water Spaniel. Most of the other bidders were Labrador Retriever owners, so Carol was probably expecting a simple project with a smooth coat and maybe a color choice between Black, Chocolate, or Yellow (you know all those Labs look alike). Undaunted by my request, she asked for reference photos, even though she is familiar with the IWS breed and is friends with Cooper and Tooey. We even supplied a bag of clipped Cooper coat for the basis of the felted creature. What Carol produced was the ultimate Mini Cooper.

Not only is this a three-inch version of an Irish Water Spaniel, but for those who know Cooper, you will recognize the specific inspiration for this rendition. Compare the felt sculpture to the photo below that I supplied Carol as a reference.

In her drive for detailed perfection, Carol needed to find some hair that would curl correctly at that size and look appropriate for a miniature Irish Water Spaniel with tight curls. Her research found some wool from a breed of sheep named Coopworth (really, we did not make up this name). She twisted several strands at time and then inserted them into the body, . . .  hundreds of times. Carol even included Cooper’s extra facial hair curls because she knows we like them, even though they are generally kept trimmed for the confirmation ring.

To put this small creation in scale with the real thing, I asked Tooey to take a look at this masterpiece while I made this photo.

Mini Cooper and Ms Tooey

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The real joy about being associated with Irish Water Spaniels is the like-minded people and their dogs. When we first got started in the beginning of 2007, the people who mentored us (and continue to do so) made this breed really enjoyable. Cooper’s sire, Balloo, belonged to Tammy. Both are mentioned and pictured on various blog posts going back nearly three years. Tammy introduced us to grooming, dock diving, real dog training, and dog shows. Cooper’s first dog shows where done under her close supervision at the other end of the leash.

Tammy’s current female IWS is Cameo. She is about as close to the ideal package of energy, personality, humor, and cuteness as I have ever seen in one creature. At the most recent dog show at Clark County, Washington, Cameo was in perfect form and spark. It is that combination of qualities that I wanted to capture in an illustration of Cameo. Here’s my interpretation:

(c) 2009 Russ Dodd

Commercial photography and illustration are my “day job”, and it is nice to be able to transfer those skills to a subject that so many of us enjoy, dogs and IWS in particular. Dog art is so rewarding, not just for the subject matter, but the great people associated with the breed.

From time to time, I will post images of other great IWS that are a part of Cooper and Tooey’s extended family. There are so many that I hope to have enough examples so that our blog readers don’t think we obsess only about our own dogs. We love them all and the variety of personalities. And the people that go with them.

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Russ has started a series of original oil paintings of sporting dogs. The first is a portrait of Cooper (our most readily available model) called “Young IWS with Toy Duck”. The picture below is a photograph of the 2nd painting of this image.

Young IWS with Toy Duck -- painting and image (c) 2009 Russ Dodd

Young IWS with Toy Duck -- painting and image (c) 2009 Russ Dodd

Russ was very happy to contribute the 1st painting of this image to the recent IWSCA silent auction at the National Specialty. It was won by Jack and Colleen.

If you’re interested in a portrait of your sporting dog, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Or you can go to workingtheory.com and use the contact link to send an email to Russ.

Please don’t copy this image. Russ worked hard to create it, so we ask you to respect his ownership of it.

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