More about the book . . .
During my life, I’ve created hundreds of paintings, drawings, and even wire sculptures of dogs of all kinds. It’s probably fair to say that I am almost as passionate about dogs as I am about art. I therefore decided to write this book to convey my enthusiasm for both. It contains my insight into how dogs console, play, delight, amuse, and live with their human companions. Drawing and painting allow me to share my way of seeing this relationship.
I also chose to include some technical advise on how to improve painting and compositional skills for aspiring artists. My hope is that both dog lovers and art lovers will not only enjoy this book but take away something of value. I’ve produced over 200 examples of how I have personally reacted over the years, and how I have felt towards man’s best friend. My approach has been to make quick studies on location and then make value studies in various mediums before completing a piece of art work.
For reference, I used photographs shot when I was on various painting trips abroad. I use the technique of turning them upside down which helps me see the abstraction of shapes, values, and edges in the scene. Once those abstractions are defined, I can then start adding color and thickness of paint, and of course the finer details. This I suppose makes me an abstract, painterly, realist.
In The Blue Rabbit, I include the ideas, techniques, and insights that I have shared with my painting, drawing, and printmaking students over my lengthy teaching career. In almost every painting, you will find a dog somewhere. The perceptive Malcolm Gladwell, in his excellent book The Outliers, wrote:
“Achievement is talent plus preparation. The problem with this view is that the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.”
It’s one thing to have talent, but it doesn’t stop there; success in anything we do also requires a great deal of preparedness as well as diligence and an indomitable spirit. If you have a strong work ethic, it will carry you far. I know this to be true from personal experience; I’ve made steady progress over the years by adhering to the work ethic my parents and teachers instilled in me, and have supplemented my talents with sheer hard work.