Stages of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever

August 31, 2014 2 min read

This painting is not finished but with each layer it continues to come to life. I wanted to share it and some thoughts about the work with you.

This Chesapeake has been a joy to paint from start to finish.  He has that feeling of movement in his body and intensity in his eyes. It’s funny that whenever I am in a duck blind, a good dog seems to know which direction the birds are coming in from. Perhaps they can hear the wing beats before me, but it is that moment I like to see in their eyes and capture in my paintings.


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Every time I do a painting I have thoughts running as rampant in my head as a retriever chasing birds in the field. Bring all those thoughts into a narrow focus is one of the biggest challenges for me as I paint. I have to tune out everything and just focus on the value, shape and hue of a small part of the painting. Once I get to this place, then it is what I call the sweet spot. I believe it is what every artist loves to feel. Hours just seems to fly by and there is this feeling that all is right with the world at this moment. Some canvases I feel this way throughout the work and this is one of those paintings. I note that amateurs will wait for this feeling to wash over them before they start a painting and professionals view this feeling as a bonus to the work day. Of course, those who wait for this feeling will produce very few canvases in their lifetime. Perhaps it is this way with any endeavor that is worth the effort? Yoda was a wise little creature when he said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

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