2015 National Dog Show, Latest Dog Portraits
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Hello Admin2,

I hope you are enjoying a beautiful spring and that your canine companions appreciate warm days in the sun. It’s a time for longer walks. On a crisp spring day recently, my dog Lucy and I, walking a well-traversed bike path in Connecticut, came across a bear lumbering out of the Farmington River. The bear walked towards us before gratefully turning away. Wow! We humbly share turf with other drifters wandering our landscapes.

At the 2015 National Dog Show

2015 National Dog Show
Left: 2015 National Dog Show Poster. Center top: David Frei with Chris. Top right: Handler Angela Lloyd with Chris. Center bottom: sketch of Best in Show Bloodhound Nathan. Bottom right: Chris and helper next to Chris' Operational National Dog Show unofficial poster.
It has been a busy six months for me since the November 2015 National Dog Show, where I signed the official posters in a lovely display area (pictured bottom right) surrounded by some of my original works. I loved meeting the handler I had illustrated in the poster. In the top right image, I am with Angela Lloyd, a top professional handler of many dogs. Back at the Westminster Dog Show, I had illustrated Angela with the magnificent Scottish Deerhound Hickory, who was honored Best in Show. At top center, I am pictured with David Frei, the forever fascinating television announcer of the National Dog Show.

Speaking with dog people at the show is sheer gift. Stories of a dog’s devotion are so often profound; dogs are healers. Through the conversations, I have come to feel an affinity for many more breeds than when I began drawing dogs, back when the strong and competent working group stole my heart. This year, I spent a lot of time with the Havanese breeders, finding myself in awe of the fluffy yet steely little characters. Dogs are unique; the individuality is what I love to capture when I draw. At the National Dog Show, the Lagotto Romangnolo, a breed newly recognized by the American Kennel Club, became one of my favorites. It is so fitting that this beautiful, ancient breed hails from Italy.

The National Dog Show has a relaxed, friendly ambience. I talked to people who have attended every show from the beginning and would not miss a year. For me, every year has a particular character, dependent on the particular grand dogs who participate. It will be an honor to record something of each show in my paintings as years go forward.

I would love to see you at the 2016 show in Philadelphia! Please come by to chat.

Pennsylvania’s Best Lagotto Romangnolo, Niko

Pennsylvania's Best Lagotto Romangnolo, Niko
Left: Framed finished art of Niko, Lagotto Romangnolo. Right: three preliminary Niko sketch proposals.
At the 2015 National Dog Show, the Lagotto Romangnolo Niko represented this magnificent and ancient breed, now officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Meeting Niko and his owner, Tom Smyth, was a pinnacle of the show. I was honored that Tom commissioned me to paint his distinguished dog. Niko is incredible. One can discern Niko’s structure beneath his whorls of curls, something I took pains to capture. Niko is lovingly affectionate yet, wow, what a powerful and dignified stance. One can well imagine his fellow Lagotti as devoted truffle hunters, running through magnificent vistas of Italy.

Above are some preliminary sketches I sent to Tom as well as the finished, framed piece of art.

Odin, Bernese Mountain Dog from Northville, MI

Odin, Bernese Mountain Dog
Left: Painting of Amanda and Odin. Right: Amanda and Odin at the 2015 Westminster Dog Show.
Odin won the best of his breed at the 2015 Westminster Dog Show, which is where I met him and his owner Carla. Painting Carla’s daughter, Amanda, who is also Odin’s handler, with the beloved Odin was a highlight of the winter season.

I photographed for the painting in Northville, Michigan in November 2015, and was mesmerized by the relationship between the two: an interspecies romance for sure. Painting over a span of weeks, one gets to contemplate one’s subject and Odin is one of dogdom’s best. The family will treasure their painting!

Painting Morey, Nell and True

Odin, Bernese Mountain Dog
Left: Morey the English Setter. Right: Nell and True, Gordon Setters.
Setters are among the most graceful dogs on the planet. I was thrilled to paint Morey, a magnificent English Setter who lives nearby in Connecticut. Morey is not usually allowed on the furniture but his wonderful owner Gail made an exception for the sake of this painting. I am going to be painting Morey again in the near future.

Nell and True live in my hometown. I love to watch these Gordon Setters run in the sunlight in their large fenced yard. One wonders whether they see heart-stirring grace in their companion dog. Their owners, my good friends Laura and Steve, have this painting hanging in their dining room -- a realm off limits to these dear yet intrepid dogs during meals, their lovely snouts being conveniently table-top height.

Soon, I will be illustrating golf superstar Jason Day, who I was thrilled to see win THE PLAYERS Championship. My husband and I followed his game in person at the Travelers Tournament in Hartford, Connecticut, two years back. What power and discipline under pressure!

As always, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to reply directly to this email to reach me.

I wish you a wonderful summer!

Chris Duke Art Store
Copyright © 2016 Chris Duke Art, All rights reserved.

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