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Saint of Dogs


8 x 16 mixed media

I have been fooling around with various techniques halfway to forever, of course, but a bunch of them really came together on this one. This painting started life as a thumbnail sketch on brown paper, which was about an inch and a half wide. I scanned it, blew it by a couple hundred percent—given the chance, I always work from my original sketch, because once I have to redraw the bloody thing, it almost always dies in the process, don’t know why—and that left me with a large (but blurry!) digital image.

At that point, I started drawing on it in Painter, adding white and black over top of the sketch, throwing some random squares and squiggles in the background to give it a little more texture. It was still pretty scribbly, as you can see:



Printed that out, sealed it to a piece of cradled clayboard with matte super heavy gel, then slathered clear gesso over top. When that had dried, I did a wash of turquoise ink over it, worked it over in neutral gray acrylic (with a little turquoise added) and titan buff liquid acrylic. Another coat of clear gesso and then it was all colored pencil and PITT pen work. (Tuscan Red, Deco Aqua, Jade Green, Sky Blue Light, and Muted Turquoise Prismacolor.)

This is pretty similar to what I’ve done with some past pieces, except that parts of this one stayed semi-transparent, to keep the best of the sketchy bits, while others got layered into opacity. I was really happy with the result. A kind of sketchiness, but with solidity.

It’s a weird fact of my life that I do not make the kind of art I like, if that makes any sense—not that I dislike my own art, or am not proud of it, but the kind of art that is on my walls is very different from the kind of paintings I have generally done. I am getting much better about moving toward making the kind of art I’d hang in my own house, but it often seems like my skills and my subjects lag behind my tastes.

But occasionally—rarely!—I will do a painting and go “Yup. If that were in a show and I saw it, I would buy it.” So I was pretty darn happy with this one, and definitely gotta spend some more time with that technique.

Original is going to Further Confusion, barring one heckuva offer-I-can’t-refuse.  Prints available, as always.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.


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That's amazingly beautiful! I'll have to buy a print for my parents- one's Christian, one's Wiccan, but they both have a love for dogs and saints. :)

The paw/hand pads!
So right!

Am I the only one getting young Boneclaw Mother vibes from this fabulous piece?

They do seem related.

Am I the only one who suspects that robe might be black leather?

Gorgeous, it is -- thanks for sharing "the making of."

I think it's the combination of Ursala's art-style plus canine ears plus and earring - that really calls back to the hyenas for me.

And of course, you wrote "CAVE CANEM" up at the top. Clearly this is a vengeful saint -- or at least one that will drown you in slobber if you give it half a chance.

Thanks for noticing this. I wouldn't have, without your help.

Ok, I'm going to FC for sure. I doubt I will have enough pesos in my pistol, but it's worth a shot!


Very nice, I also really love the way the paw-hands came out. Also, have you ever heard the legend of Saint Guinefort, the drawing reminded me of it.

Looking at the Saint Guinefort article led me to Cynocephali (people with dogs heads) which mentions " Gwrgi Garwlwyd (Man-Dog Rough-Gray) appears in one of the Welsh Triads, where he is described in such a way that scholars have discussed him as a werewolf". So that's where Lloyd Alexander got the character Gurgi in the Prydain books ... Ah, Internet, you distract me so but sometimes it's worth it.

I just have to say I find your accounts of process fascinating - mainly because I can't even imagine how you thought to get from A to B to Z.

With words, I know where I'm at; complicated art totally leaves me flumboozled.

I didn't think the paw pads looked right. I didn't think that most animals had the middle set of pads but then I found this site
and figured, why not!

It's something you see a lot of in anthro art, since the regular pad-set looks odd on long fingers

Plus, if you look at how the human hand is articulated, it's not inconceivable that an 'anthro' would have pads located between the finger joints, given that the finger fills out there, and thus would make contact with the ground at that point.

This is very nice. Great job.

If prints are available, I'll be picking one up at FC. This is marvelous.

*rushes off to count pennies*

This must hang in my office at the Shelter!

Brava!!! Exquisite and fun at the same time - nice job!

A pun involving the term "dogma" is required.

*puts up a sign*
'Beware of Dogma'

My first thought was of Cordwainer Smith's D'Joan. Her martyrdom quote is apropos.

I know a few people who need this in their lives, and I will be sending links to them right now.

There actually is a dog who is a saint...Saint Guinefort the Greyhound, saint of protecting children. Or at least I think she was a greyhound...anyway, the dog was sainted after the knight who owned her left his infant son in her care (proving what great parenting skills people had back then) and, when he returned, his son was nowhere to be seen and the dog was covered in blood. Immediately assuming the dog had eaten his son, he beheaded her, only to find his son safely in the corner of the room, with a mangled viper nearby that Guinefort had clearly killed. The knight was so upset by what he'd done, he buried the dog in the well and the township sainted her, making her the guardian of all children. This is mostly swept under the rug for the most part (she is technically still counted among the saints, including in Catholicism, but hardly anyone acknowledges her at all) and not only because she was a dog...unfortunately, a bit of a cult following started up around her, one of the rituals of which involved sacrificing infants in her name. So...dog saves kid, knight kills dog, dog becomes saint, people kill babies in name of dog. Makes perfect sense to me!

Edited at 2013-01-28 01:27 am (UTC)

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