Welcome to my 'Dog Blog'

Last July (2008), I decided to paint a series of dog paintings in the spirit of the 19th century European dog painters. These painters portrayed the everday life of the dogs of their time, wih academc prowess, creating masterworks no less worthy than any other painting genre. In studying these paintings, I realized that even with the surge in representational painting today, animal painting as a genre, largely follows a Modernist aesthetic, and is rarely seen in fine art or academic art circles. I want to bridge the divide, both as an academic painter and as a dog lover and present dogs, not as one-dimensional stereotypes, but as living breathing spirits. In each painting, it is the domesticated individual, along with their wild heritage that I hope to capture and memorialize, and in doing so, bring the same dignity to them that they bring to our lives everyday. Our culture has a tendency to anthropomorphize our dogs; maybe this is the reverse in action, our dogs' nature teaching us something about ourselves.

This series of work was shown at Lora Schlesinger Gallery in Santa Monica, CA at Bergamot Station, April 25th-June 6th 2009. http://www.loraschlesinger.com/

Commissions are welcome. Contact the gallery or email me at km@kimberlymerrill.com

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Commission delivered...Whew!

Last Sunday, I delivered the first of four paintings commissioned by my client, Bernie. This will, most likely, be the most complicated piece, so it is an huge relief that it is done and met with great approval! It was an added challenge to include a landscape that alluded to the special ambience of Bernie's property. Landscape is not my forte', so it was great to have the challenge and learning exercise to make it more interesting to paint. Those of you who know my work may be wondering about the uncharacteristic frame choice? When the painting was commissioned, the plan was for it to hang in his Laguna home, which is very modern. This is the first time I've had to face putting a frame on my painting that is so minimal, modern and so not me!
I can't wait to paint these two again when they are full grown! When I saw them this weekend they were already 60lbs! On to the next...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

First dog commisson...

As I mentioned earlier, I thought I would share a bit about the commissions I'm working on. I'm just finishing the first piece, which is turning out to be one of the most complex paintings I've done. The commission is for two Rottweiler puppies and the setting chosen was a garden bench on the clients property in the Hollywood Hills. Behind the bench is a near and distant landscape that I composited from several locations on the property. Because I have spent so much time doing still lifes, I haven't done much landscape work, so these paintings have an added learning curve. This image is of one of the heads...I will post the whole painting when it is finished and framed, hopefully next week.
I haven't been doing this for very long, but I have to say that I have worked with some wonderful and interesting people and this client is no different. The next painting is of his other dog, which will be in another landscape setting. More on that in a couple weeks.
Any painters reading this will understand that, for me, one of the biggest challenges of commissions is the change to my personal relationship with my painting. The dynamic is different when I am painting to please someone else from when I am painting for myself. It has been tricky figuring out how to center myself when I am painting so that I am not always aware of the client and their opinion while I am painting because this seriously hampers creativity, making it less likely that the client will be satisfied.

Book is ready...

Well, I've taken a stab at creating a 'Blurb' book on my show of dog paintings. It's amazing that you can do this yourself from the comfort of your own sofa! It took me a couple days and a couple test copies, which was the only downfall that I found with the process...there is no way to know how the images are going to look until you receive a hard copy, so you can spend quite a bit on copies that you can't use. But all in all...it's great and a perfect marketing tool!

The book will soon be available on my website, www.kimberlymerrill.com but for now you can find them on www.blurb.com , Kimberly Merrill, Unleashed.