Thursday, July 19, 2007

Smile


Here's a drawing/study that I did of Leon, my best friend, a few months ago. It's not EXACTLY what I want, but a good reference. I think I'll probably do it again. He's a happy dog today because he got a shower and a bone. For those of you who don't know Leon's story, and want to, here's the gist:

Leon showed up during our first year living in France. He was abandoned or lost and almost a year old. He smelled too nice to have been gone for long in the wild. For about five seconds he hesitated to come see me, but when he saw I had steak on the way back from the grocery store, he didn't wait long. Leon has had abandonment problems ever since, severe separation anxiety. It didn't help we were going back and forth to the States every three months and leaving him with someone. But he wasn't unhappy, he got walks and had a fine life in the countryside.

Four years ago we came to Holland and that was a major change! No more country. The lake turned into a big sea where you couldn't see the other side and there were dogs everywhere! Along with Leon's S.A. he was also an alpha male and very dominant. We spent the first two years here together working on his behavior (and by we, I mean Me and Leon). It was tough going but with irresistible treats, time, repetition, and patience on both sides we managed to change an aggressive dog into a friendly dog, not to mention better behaved (more or less).

There's still the S.A. A bit better now, I can leave him to go see the neighbor for about 45 minutes, though sometimes not. He's only barking now, not howling as if he lost his best friend (which according to him he does every time) and no more tearing things apart and complete panic. Not bad for a thirteen year old. He goes every day with me to the studio and is disappointed if we don't go. He's there to make sure I don't take myself too seriously and to remind me that I am loved. Someone told me that an animal in the studio is a bad thing for painting karma, but I find it just the opposite. His constant presence is a gift to me. Ok, sometimes I'd like my freedom, but I've come to rely on his companionship almost as much as he relies on mine. This sketch is the beginning of what I hope to be a series of drawings and/or paintings of my buddy. More to come!


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