Oil sketches of Freddy

May 19, 2012


In this post I share some oil sketches that I made of my old terrier…


This post is in memory of my dear border terrier, Freddy, who died at the beginning of this month.


Over two weeks have passed since the end of his life and, though I felt devastated to start with, I can now start to think again of funny stories about him even if just in a wistful way. For example, there was the time that he ate through someone’s leather rucksack in order to reach their sandwiches. And on another occasion he went missing and was eventually found trapped (quite happily) inside the lidded compost bin which he had thought was a suitable lunch venue. 



There is no shortage of pictures of this little character. My sketchbooks are full of them, and he obligingly posed at drawing classes towards the end of his life.


The decision to sketch in paint

He had been ambling about as a blind and deaf dog for a year or so, but was then ill in February 2012 and I was not sure at the time whether or not he would pull through. I managed to get him comfortable again through a combination of electrolytes, home-cooking and medications. It must have been a sense of panic at Freddy’s rapid aging that got me to bring my easel downstairs, protect the furniture with sheets, and get down to some oil sketches of him from life.



The process of painting Freddy made me feel a bit better about his ageing process. It forced me to observe him closely as he rested, and it was clear that he absolutely relished relaxing and could be happy and comfortable in various positions, whether curled on the floor or (a February 2012 favourite) upside-down on his bed.




Pictures and memories

I never quite knew when Freddy would move as I painted him, and the immediacy of working from life brought an emotional directness to these pictures. These little paintings are all technically flawed, but those that I have included in this post are more successful than a photo in that they are closer to my personal memory of him.




 Have you seen David Hockney’s oil sketches of his dachsunds? Check out this charming book which is full of Hockney’s paintings of his dogs, Stanley and Boogie. This was an inspiration to me. Much of the point of these pictures is the portrayal of dogs in their environment, just fitting into the space and with one another. http://www.amazon.co.uk/David-Hockneys-Dog-Days-Hockney/dp/0500238340


 David Hockney's Dog Days

I am currently sorting through a great pile of old sketchbooks, looking for pictures of Freddy. Remember to check back here on Thursday as my next post will focus on my sketchbook dog drawings.

Comments (4) | Tags: , , | More: Blog

4 Responses to “Oil sketches of Freddy”

  1. Tegan says:

    What a charming tribute to Freddy. I’m so sorry for your loss. RIP Freddy.

  2. Jane says:

    What lovely pictures that capture a BT brilliantly. My little girl BT Ellie is only 1 year old, but I can see her in your pictures. What a wonderful tribute to Freddy.

    • art28278 says:

      Thanks, Jane. I do have a soft spot for Border Terriers as you can tell. Best wishes to you and to Ellie. Marianne

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