"A Life With Dogs"

 "A Life With Dogs"

19"x22"

pen& ink

2014

Well, here's a Big One (around 22x19", and a million, tiny rapidograph dots and cross-hatchings)....the final version of all (most, at least) of the 17 or so terriers owned since 1924 by an English lady who turns 90 at the end of this month.  Presumably, the picture is trundling its way towards southwestern England as I type this.
 
It's a markedly uncluttered picture by my chronic horror-vacuii standards, but that was what the client wanted.  He's the lady's son, who gained my eternal gratitude 16 months ago when my visiting, French mother-in-law found herself at an impasse while she tried to negotiate finding what she wanted at what passes for a speciality-cheese counter here in Hillsborough, NC. Fortunately, a young-ish Englishman stepped up and began chattering away at her, in perfectly fluent French, about various cheeses and the inevitable compromises she would just have to accept.....much to relief of everyone involved in that previously unproductive encounter. She went away very happy, and I was greatly relieved.
 
Amusingly enough?....the son, whose tastes do seem fairly austere, told me that there definitely would be no need to clutter up the picture with the name of each dog; according to him, you could hang it on a wall fifteen feet from her, and she'd be able to identify each dog (recall that some of these were living during the Coolidge administration) by its silhouette alone.  Rather obviously, this lady is a SERIOUS terrier aficionado.
 
This might be the appropriate time for to admit that, sometimes, I can't tell my Kate and Dougan (they are, after all, siblings) apart. I usually just keep on reading (or whatever I'm absorbed in doing) and reach down with my free hand to manually identify (to put it politely) the dog.  I expect that, someday, I'll thoughtlessly do this in public and get myself arrested.