Pet Muse

My little dog–a heartbeat at my feet.”  Edith Wharton  (from shot 2013-10-27 at 9.57.01 PM

Pets get to people in ways humans can’t.  They are the silent inspiration, the quiet heartfelt love that only asks for basic needs and your company.  Do they effect art and art making?

Picasso’s dog, Lump was the only other being allowed in his studio.  Warhol immortalized his dogs in his art.  David Hockney continues to paint his two dachshunds even now.  Many artists have shared their lives with pets.  For some it’s cats and others dogs.  Freda Kahlo had monkeys.  Salvador Dali’s pets were ocelots.  The list goes on.  Summer Anne Burton at Buzzfeed has outlined these and other artists and their pets in an interesting article with wonderful photos.

George Rodigue turned portraits of his dog into a multi- million- dollar empire.  The Blue Dog series, along with paintings of life in the Louisiana Bayou became Rodrigue’s life’s work.  He based the Blue Dog character in his paintings on his spaniel, Tiffany.  70 of the Blue Dog works were on display at Baton Rouge’s LSU Museum of Art recently.

I confess I talk to my dog as he sits quietly at my feet beside the easel or under the drawing table.  He doesn’t usually talk back.  For some reason, it is easier to work out problems if discussed with Twinkie.  He doesn’t offer advice or suggest it could have been done another way.  He just listens and occasionally thumps his tail.  I take that to mean he has approved the solution.  Once Twinkie sat too close to the easel when I was working on a pastel.  Green pastel dust covered the top of the white fur on his back.  He didn’t seem to mind but people looked at him very strangely until I got it all out.

It is likely different from artist to artist.  Not all artists have pets.  For those who do, there is a connection that is hard to describe in logical terms.  Maybe it’s the companionship.  Could be the fact that a pet is hardly ever critical.  All your art is good with the pet.  They think you, and by extension, your art are wonderful.  But I believe it is deeper than that.  A connection between artist and pet creates a bond that flows over into the work.  A silent communication happens sparking the creative juices.  Or maybe, it’s just my imagination.  Twinkie’s not saying.

23 responses to “Pet Muse”

  1. Very interesting. You know, it seems that “all” writers have cats!

    1. “All” writers?? Is that like “All” painters have dogs?

      1. I think so, yes! The professor has cats and dogs, though. So that makes him…something else, I suppose..

      2. Something else…but what?

      3. The professor doesn’t know. What do you think?

      4. As we say in Tennessee, “Pets is pets!” Probably doesn’t much matter, we all love our critters, cat, dog, artist, writer. But it would be fun to know if one group has a preference in pets.

      5. I just got it! The professor prefers Tassie Devils over everything else, I believe. So that makes him a sort of devil I’d imagine.

      6. I think I lost it. ??

      7. It’s all the professor’s fault, I assure you. I tend to cause confusion everywhere I go.

  2. I thought of getting an ocelot, but finally decided to go with a dog. I think Twinkie was a good choice too.

    Ever since, many summers ago, I read that Edith Wharton quote, it has given me great joy.

    1. Love that quote too! Twinkie’ s my bud! Don’t know if I’d care for an ocelot. It sounded like Dali’s were a bit troublesome!

  3. Most definitely our animals are good for our souls. Twinkie is adorable btw. Great post.

    1. Twinkie says Thanks! You are right. They are good for our souls!

  4. I can just see that little cape flying in the wind ~ what a Super Hero! My dogs love it when I’m working on my art because they have me fixed in one place.

    1. He did go racing around with the cape flying in the wind! It was hilarious! How do dogs know when they are being cute? I think that’s why Twinkie likes sitting near the easel, too. It means I’m staying put,as well.

      1. If we knew how much they know it could be scary!

      2. True! Very scary!

  5. Aha! Found him.
    Twinkie, Breanna would like to say hello to you.
    And that you are a fine looking fellow~

    1. Twinkie says Hello! to Breanna! He would like to wish Breanna “All the Best!” He is a man of few words. This is quite a few for him. He must like Breanna!

  6. I agree completely. Animals and their people share souls and it shows in their work.

    1. Yes, they do and it does!

  7. Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe this website needs a lot more
    attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for
    the advice!

    1. Thank you so much!! Look forward to seeing you!

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