Not a lot has happened on my website for quite some time now. And I have missed being here.
Life has this wretched habit of throwing in some humdingers from time to time that veer you off in a direction (or many directions) that you’d rather not travel in. It also throws experiences in your path whose attendant pain you’d sooner not be having to ameliorate. It’s been a year of picking up pieces and starting anew. No bad thing, sometimes.
Kick-starting the downhill ride was the death of my very special, 16yr old terrier Gromit. He had been my son’s 6th birthday present and promptly became my special little chap (the novelty of a puppy soon wore off for my child!). He was a little sod and would have a go at any other male dog within seven miles until he mellowed later in life. We had to say goodbye to him out of the blue when he had a seizure and vets suspected brain tumour. It broke my heart. It took a couple of months before I was able to sit down and paint a picture of him (above). Now he sits with us, looking over the dining table, and still occupies a huge place in our hearts.
What came next, just five days after the passing of Gromit, was hideous. My other special male dog, Blouse – a Spaniel cross, went downhill rapidly. He was 14yrs old and we had been having concerns about him for a while. He had to go and be with Gromit because we couldn’t let him suffer any longer just because we were going through the trauma of grieving over our other dog. Blouse was the gentlest, most loving dog you could ever hope to meet. He slept under the kitchen table – his favourite place – and now he, too, lives above our kitchen table, overlooking us and alongside Gromit.
It hurt so much, painting these two portraits, even though it’s what I ‘do’. Both of the photographs that I used for these paintings were taken in the weeks leading up to their passing which makes it even more poignant. They came back to life for me in these portraits and every day it gives us the opportunity to salute them for the love they showed us and the happiness they brought.
And now I see our other 14 and 15yr old female dogs getting tired and old and I am dreading their passing but it is inevitable. I know I should paint their portraits before they leave us and perhaps I will.