I was once told by a Gallery owner that every painting has a story and this painting, Looking to the Light is no different. It started a little over 9 years ago when I was talking with a real estate client of ours. We were both telling each other how we had gotten puppies. To our surprise, they were both born on the exact same day. Laurie’s was a Yellow Lab named Rebel and mine was a Min Pin we named Ally. When we realized this, there was a special bond and when we spoke we would always ask about the others dog. Sadly eight years later Laurie told us that Rebel was diagnosed with cancer.
When I heard this there was a sudden urge to go to her house and photograph Rebel. We had lost a puppy at 13 weeks old and I remember how much I cherished the few photos I had. So I called Laurie and Billy and asked if I could come over and photograph Rebel so that I could do an oil painting of him. He was a beautiful lab and I felt compelled to do a painting of him. They thought their Realtor was a bit nutty, but they said, “Sure come on over if you want.” They didn’t get it and I didn’t either at the time, but this painting would become a very important painting for both of us.
Because I was doing this painting for myself there was no rush and in May when it was just about complete, I called Laurie and invited her to see the painting at an SPCA event where I was showing my art. Everything was done except a little work around the muzzle and the whiskers.
After that day, I got busy with other things and never did put the whiskers on until several months later. On Aug. 31, 2011 I decided to finally put the whiskers on and then enter the oil painting into a contest. After I added the last whisker, I immediately called Laurie to say it was done and to ask her about a title. When I called she didn’t answer the phone. The next day there was an email from Laurie in my inbox. I couldn’t believe what I read.
She said that when the phone rang she was at home but didn’t answer because they had just said goodbye to Rebel one minute before I called and were actually carrying his body out of her home when the phone was ringing. She said it was odd, as she was saying goodbye to him that she thought about the painting. When you look at the timeline, I was putting the last strokes of paint on the painting as Rebel was taking his last breaths. I have my doubts that this was all just a chance happening?
When I first showed the painting in my studio at the Pendleton Art Center, it was amazing to watch how people would gather around that one painting and marvel at how real it looked, it was without a doubt the show stopper. So I knew this was the painting to enter into one of the most difficult art exhibits/contests, ViewPoint 44. And now, I am proud to announce that “Looking to the Light” has been accepted into the ViewPoint National Juried Show. Only 70 paintings were chosen out of hundreds that were submitted from around the country.
I would like to invite you to The ViewPoint 44 Show held at the Cincinnati Art Gallery on 225 E 6th St. Cincinnati, OH 45202. The ViewPoint exhibition will be available for viewing Monday thru Friday 9-4 pm Saturday 10-3 pm till August 31, 2012.