Thursday, March 19, 2009

Portrait of a Hero - Donation #20 - Dakota

Belgian Malinois Search & Rescue Dog

From Julie, his handler:

Dakota, 3, was imported from Germany to be a patrol dog, but fortunately for me biting was not is forte. For a Mal he has a sweat personality and likes to please. He negotiates rubble like a gazelle and searches extremely fast, sometimes blowing right by scent and has to work his way back. He likes to take direction and isn't as serious about his work as Lilly-Belle, but he also has a strong work ethic. Dakota, is my "Flash dog" and Lilly is my "steady girl" they make a great pair.

FLTF2 is a Federal Search team sponsored by Miami Fire Rescue. I am a 23 year fire fighter with Miami. Both Lilly-Belle and Dakota are Type 1 FEMA certified disaster search dogs.

Thank you Julie, Dakota and Lilly! We appreciate your hard work. I will be painting Lilly's portrait soon.

I am so happy with the way this portrait turned out. In this instance, I deleted the background from the photo and put in a generic background. I love the look on Dakota's face. However, I just realized that I never finished his collar LOL . . . so I guess the painting isn't exactly finished. I will post an updated photo when I add his bright orange collar.

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion . . . . I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (American Writer, b.1922)

Live Creatively!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Roxey's Story & Pico Finished

First let me introduce you to Roxey. Her partner, Officer Douglas R. Beckman of the University of Illinois Police Dept. tells about her:

was our departments first Police Dog. She was a Belgian Malinois from Holland. I was blessed in her picking me out at the kennel by placing her paw upon my shoulder as we walked through the kennels looking at 100's of dogs before we made our selection. Then for over 9 years we worked together as friends and partners. Roxey had over 1600 calls for service and recovered over 400 lbs of illegal drugs. She was responsible for seizing thousands of dollars of drug money and vehicles. Roxey was also responsible for recovering 17 handguns and assisting in the arrest of 100's of felony and misdemeanor suspects. Roxey retired on Aug 4, 2008.

On Sept 27th 2008 I lost my partner and friend. Roxey had been injured 3 years prior looking for a home invasion suspect and had been on some very strong medication so she would be comfortable after her back injury. Roxey never slowed down. The day of the 27th I was able to have my daughter tell Roxey to catch the bad guys one last time and my wife to be with me as she passed. It was truly the hardest thing I have every done. Roxey is always with me and has made me a better person as well as an Officer. When I got my new partner I new I had to get someone with a different look and personality so I wouldn't be able to compare just by looking at them. Now more than ever, I'm gratefull I was able to do that with my new Partner Quinty. Thank you very much for everything you do it does mean alot to the Officers and family we spend so much of our lives with them it is hard to put in words. Roxey was truly my family's Hero.


Thank you Officer Beckman and your new partner Quinty.

Portrait Notes: After I finished the initial sketch, it was obvious to me that I had her a bit fatter than she was, so I modified that as I painted. Although I often change the backgrounds of portraits, I really liked the bold graphic of the Police car behind Roxey, and thought it made a great background, so I left it that way. This is one of the portraits that doesn't photograph very well. I might be able to get a better photo in the daylight.

(click to see larger)

German Shepherd
4" x 6"
Oil on Panel

Here is the final version of Pico's portrait. I tweaked his ears a bit, added more color to his coat and filled in the background. I'm very happy with both these portraits, and very grateful to the Officers that work so hard for us.

It seems like all I've been doing for Daily Paintings (ok I know they're not daily) are dogs. I really plan on some other paintings, so hang in there and I'll get some still lives or landscapes on the easel soon. I dropped my favorite glass bluebird and broke her tail off, so I'm planning to paint a tragedy painting soon.

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. Epicurus (Greek philosopher, BC 341-270)

Live Creatively!! (and gratefully)


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pico - Dallas Police K9 Service Dog

Oil on Panel

From his partner: Pico (Pee-ko) is about 2 1/2 yrs old. He came from Czechoslovakia. We are the most rookie team on the Dallas Police Dept. K9 Team. We started in October of 2007. We got off training in May 2008 and are free to roam the entire city of Dallas while our citizens sleep. Pico is trained in Building Search, Apprehension, Tracking Suspects, and area searches for suspects. He loves his red ball! He loves his Chihuahua sister Pinky who lives at home and likes to chase her anytime he gets a chance.

Pico caught another bad guy one early morning a week or so ago hiding some bushes. He's up to 5 bad guy catches now during his short 10 month career off of training.... "

Thank you!

This portrait is ALMOST finished. I got interrupted and wasn't able to get back to it tonight, but thought I'd share what I did get done. I'm probably going to work on the grass a bit, and maybe tweak Pico's ears a bit, but it's looking pretty good.

* UPDATE * I was just informed by Pico's partner that Pico captured two more burglars last night!! Way to go!!

Since I won't be posting tomorrow, here's a sneak peek at another portrait I'm working on -

Belgium Malinois from Holland
Oil Sketch

I'm painting her a bit closer than she is in the photo. Unfortunately, this is a memorial painting, as Roxey is keeping bad guys out of heaven now. More on her story when I show you the finished painting. Her police officer partner that sent the photos wrote a very moving story about her.

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." - Mother Teresa

Live Creatively!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oskar Black German Shepherd K-9 Portrait

Black German Shepherd
South Carolina
Oil on Panel
4" x 6"

From his partner - "Oskar is a 2 year old black German Shepherd that was imported from Slovokia. His is trained in narcotics detection, tracking, article recovery and patrol work. We have been partners since May 2008. Today we have accounted for 9 arrests, 4 vehicle seizures, about $6000.00 cash and various amounts of drugs, to include several pounds of marijuana. We look forward to putting more bad guys in jail and make our world a safer place."

Thank you so much! We appreciate your efforts!

A few weeks ago, I showed you the beginning of Oskar's portrait. Actually, it wasn't the very beginning because I painted the entire portrait then wiped it out, because I just didn't like it. I started over, and you saw the sketch that I did - but it wasn't right either, you can see that he is too short and his head is proportionately too large - but at least his feet were in the right place :)

So, I wiped it out AGAIN and started for the (hopefully) final time. I'm pleased with how it turned out. In response to those who have asked to see the reference photos, it is below. I don't like posting reference photos because I feel that the painting should stand on its own merits and also that sometimes I am so close to the original that some think I actually trace. Those of you who have watched me paint live know that is definitely not the case. It is just trial and error, replacing those bits that don't look 'right' and refining as you go along until you are happy with it.

.I'm going to see if I can get some more work done tonight, so maybe I'll have something to show you tomorrow.

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. - Maria Robinson

As always - live creatively!!

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