Dog Days Painting Series


I’m a dog-lover through and through. When we were small, my brother and I learned the names, breeds and characters traits of all the dogs in the neighbourhood, a tradition I’ve carried on to this day. Like any enthusiast, I’ve picked up all kinds of trivia about different breeds and I can tell you what I love about each one. Pick a favourite, though? Impossible.

Over the last few weeks I’ve channeled my love into paintings of some gorgeous (and ugly-cute) breeds. Read on for illustrations, stories, and prints of these lovable doggos.

New in the shop: Dog Days magnets


With the dog days of summer well and truly upon us, I decided it was time to add some pooches to the M/M Etsy shop. Dalmatians, Corgis, French Bulldogs and Golden Retrievers kick off the series, each with their own special appeal and their own camp of admirers. More breeds to come if these sell well!

These magnets are part of a larger series of animal paintings.

Shallow curve of sound

things I noticed

Human double-tall, carrying son on his shoulders as I carry sun on my shoulders. Both in black, from behind they look like a great four-armed beast or being. Little fluff dog trots behind, familiar.

Mugs the sheepdog approaches with his human: pink-tongue smile, wiry long bangs, his rolling gait. He is the happiest and gentlest of dogs.

Goslings for the first time this year. Fat, fluffed and grazing on the grass like Canadian sheep. A Sheltie pup comes trotting and they eye each other, sit, amazed and sheepish. Alike in their tan downy coats, their unknowing.

Mother’s call is a shallow curve of sound, serrated.

New wet-looking leaves on the maples, still softly transparent and clinging.

The purple buds have opened up into bunches of white blossoms, still small. One half-bloomed cluster placed just at nose height, a heady scent of pear and something sweeter. Ice wine? Quebec cider. Light, sharp, neither heavy nor cloying but seductive to forest walkers.

First bugs buzz, here by the half-hearted creek in the heart of the wood.

Seat on a stump. They’ve been cutting again. Last year’s logs now green in the gaps of upped roots. These trees too vigourous to stay slain.

Scalloped edge on an old tree’s new face, trunk sawed straight to show bark split as the core once expanded. This tree fell quite lately, sprawled in weary dignity across the forest path. We climbed or scuttled under, we walkers, we runners, until men from the city came to clear the way.

Trees in this forest lean together drunkenly, murmur scandal to one another. The forest speaks in creaks and shushes, a language only they can hear. If there is a great awareness here, it is not in the beasts but in the trees.

Not a dog

things I noticed

A drawn out, high-pitched wail, ringing in the morning. Metal on metal? A dog in great distress? It sounds first like one, then the other. Sight of garbage trucks up the street, rumble of bins, again the wail and this time a distinctly mechanical edge. Not a dog, then.

Heron in the morning, ungainly grace. The weight of him hangs heavy from cupped wings.

By the brook, bunched buds, and what purple! Violet the velvet of bishops’ robes, of blueberries smeared across a suntanned cheek. To flower? Soon. Come this way in a day or a week, to see.

From needing an answer now, at all costs, to following my own distant interests, I watched my wants turn about overnight.

Desire tied to unknowing. Assure me, and the kick fails.

Primaries subdued

things I noticed

Younger woman in sunglasses and sweats, on the same path I am. Body plump as young bodies are plump: fresh, inviting. Does she understand what beauty of youth she carries? See how she struts; she knows.

Small grey curly thing with a paw lifted, face tilted. Mid-day, the little dogs come out.

Music, from where? A space between walkers. Sound ebbs and rushes with the wind, “All is quiet on New Year’s Day.” Really, Bono? Do you think so? Early this morning you’d have been right. Now la monde is outside.

Young ones scramble over rocks after a lost ball.

Brushed gold grasses, rusty sumac, lake a deep blue under this sky. The primaries subdued; how pleasing. Flutter of fallen leaves, this mischievous wind, and a child named Bianca. White, in the midst of it all.

Where there were sage green buds: new leaves. Branches that rattled now rustle. Run of green up a stalk: a trill.

Oh, young man in a muscle car, you’re not half such a thrill.

Temptation to braid these reeds on the forest’s edge. I was here.

Smell of sap rising. Buds bead the tips of twigs, buds as sharp as little milk teeth.

Across a small bridge over a brook, sight of a blue-headed mallard wading upstream. Not that there is much stream to contend with. More, it’s the broken trees that block his way. He waddles gamely over logs and under arches, his bill so bright, so sudden, it looks painted on or plastic.

I notice I’ve lost my pen.

A small family bent in the wood, gathering. What, I ask. Mother calls to son, son calls to grandson, grandson explains: plants to to rub on skin, to heal the hands. Broken French on both sides, we smile and touch and gesture. May I take a picture? Image comes to focus, shutter clicks, and I hand back the healing. Small family walks on, under waking trees under noon sun.

Walking fast into gusts

things I noticed

A woman in yellow, dancing. Her narrow hands, dancing. Her eyes, dancing. Her calves and her toes, dancing. Each part of her body participant in motion, then still. Anticipation. Restraint. Calm before a storm-burst, her euphoria.

Six women, dancing. The strength and grace of archers. Purpose in their eyes and in the weight of their heads, held back on delicate necks. Warriors. Weight shifts forward to bent knees; hold. Spring back, hind legs ready to receive. Hold. Turn, together. Intention in their wrists and in their ankles, grace in their power, power in their poise.

A feeling of yearning: a pull, a pulse, a flutter.