The Dogs of Penland

I like to think this is part I, with more dogs to come, but at this point, I’m just relieved to have finally finished hand-coloring them!

Last summer I was very fortunate to be able to attend a class at Penland School of Arts and Crafts, thanks to their generous scholarship program. I took a printmaking course in intaglio, woodcut, letterpress by Belgian artist, printmaker Goedele Peeters. She was a wonderful instructor and it was a thrill to see her work up close (and to see her make new work). At Penland, I noticed there were a number of really terrific dogs, and that their owners loved to talk about their companions. I decided to make a short book The Dogs of Penland featuring some of these pets. I have to say that these were some of the funniest, nicest people/artists I’ve ever met, and I never would have gotten to know them if it weren’t for their wonderful, awesome dogs. One thing I noticed is that whenever anyone came near to talk to the artist or their companion, everyone ended up smiling. There is something about these animals that brings out the best in people and it continues to delight and amaze me. I know the joy these critters emitted was in no small part due to the fact that they had great owners who really cared about their pets health, well-being and happiness. And they were extremely well socialized dogs, which is no small feat. That said, here are a  few small portraits of some of them, that make up volume 1 of The Dogs of Penland:

Roscoe, owned by Anne:
intaglio of mastiff dog's head

Roscoe the Ginormous • 3 1/2 ” x 5″ • hand-colored intaglio
Roscoe is a mastiff…. Climbing up and out of the car, he looked like a small, lanky horse emerging from what seemed to be an impossibly small car for a beast so big. He then proceeded to walk up to the cafe (where Annie works), with his own leash in his mouth—leading himself up the hill for his photoshoot. He is a beautiful, quiet, gentle giant, and a great model (he holds very still!).

Lilly, owned by Edwina Bringle:
corgi smiles up at viewer

Lilly Strikes a Pose • 5″ x 3 1/2″ • hand-colored intaglio
On the other end of the size spectrum, there is Lilly. When I first met her, she was walking quickly to go greet her friends at the store…and smiling. She was always smiling, and it was catching! Lilly, when I asked her to, quickly struck a pose, flashed a winning glance my way , and then quickly pattered on to her visit. Things to do,… people to meet!

Wyatt, owned by Nathan and Angela:
white dog with black spots looks goofy and smiles

Wyatt, Class Clown,
3 1/2″ x 5″ • hand-colored intaglio
Wyatt is a complete goofball—he seems to live to amuse. When I would watch him chase a ball, or look lovingly, goofily up at Angela, he just made me laugh. There was nothing really regal or poised about him (though a very beautiful dog)—he seemed to live to play and to bring out the good humor of those around him.

Patsy Jo, owned by David Chatt
white and brown terrier relaxes in man's arms

Patsy Jo Does Cleopatra
3 1/2″ x 5″ • hand-colored intaglio
Patsy Jo will do anything her companion David asks of her. She’ll model as a “handbag” (David holds her by the feet, upside down, and Patsy Jo just hangs there, calmly, looking at everybody upside down as if it was the most normal thing in the world). I could not believe how calm she was…and she’s a terrier! When David holds her, she is completely relaxed (as you see here)–totally trusting, and kind of just letting everything hang out. She is utterly devoted to “her guy,” and a great poser.

Pinkerton, owned by Thor Bueno:
Little JRT plays dead

“Bang Pinkerton! Bang! Bang!! 4″ x 7″, hand-colored intaglio
Pinkerton is just like a little circus dog. She dances on her hind legs, plays dead when Thor yells “Bang Pinkerton!… Bang!!” Even her eyes rolled up into her head and sort of glassed over–she played the part perfectly. A classic terrier/drama queen.

Petey, owned by Cristina Cordova:
maned dog walks away from camera
Petey, the Lion Dog •  3 1/2″ x 5″ •  hand-colored woodcut
When I first saw Petey, I exclaimed “What the hell is that?” It was a very large, orange-brown creature, with a lion’s mane and lion’s tail (body/main part of tail shaved so that it looked like a lion). It was the weirdest thing to see this hybrid creature–I had to keep reminding myself that this was a dog–but it was really a great look. Only an artist would think of turning a dog into a lion…

Wyatt, 1 of the dogs of Penland

Wyatt (below), is the first of the critters in my Dogs of Penland book. We’re doing intaglio on plastic/acrylic plates. Pretty much all drypoint. It’s great here at Penland–I can work much of the night and nobody minds. Great facilities and great atmosphere to just get some art done. :)

Wyatt, one of the great dogs of Penland

Wyatt, hand-colored intaglio, 5cm x 8cm

Goedele Peeters is our instructor and she is AMAZING! I feel so lucky to be in her class. She combines intaglio with woodcut and more. Teaching us different ways to do drypoint and combination printing that I didn’t know about before. See her work online at Goedele Peeters.