THE STORY: Well over a year ago, a nice lady named Gayle contacted me about painting a picture of her dog, Duval, for a surprise anniversary present for her husband Marc. Here’s the thing. I was petrified of painting dogs. I had never painted one before. And by that I mean yes I really had but it was NOT something that was ever going to see the light of day. Sounds stupid to say I was petrified to do a a painting because there are, of course, many things that are worth being petrified over that are far more serious than doing a dog painting. Nevertheless, I wanted to do it right.


Doing this piece was very important to me. Duval is a bit of a celebrity over on North Bank. People KNOW him and the need to please was paramount. Gayle had enough faith in my ability to trust me with this project as a precious gift to her husband. I, for sure, did NOT want to screw up. I said yes, had a couple of pics to work with and commenced in creating this anniversary present. I also needed to practice serious discretion. Clients who are giving my paintings as gifts need for me to keep a secret even when the work is done and especially before the gift has been given. I secretly delivered the painting to Gayle, then waited and wondered if Marc would like it.


You may have seen me post some pics a couple of weeks back of this beautiful pup named Duval. He is an English Lab, which once again, is a breed I was not familiar with. SO CHILL. My gig life and artist life come together sometimes and I FINALLY got to meet Duval and his dog dad, Marc! Gayle and Marc had come to the Boatyard during one of my gigs and brought their beloved pet with them. YAY. I don’t get to meet my “subjects” very often, if ever. During our visit at my gig, Marc spoke of the painting and said I “nailed it”. Music to my ears on every level. Meanwhile, Gayle did a little impromptu photoshoot. She worked hard to get Duval to look up. Said the key words. Treat, treat, treat. She got a few good shots. However, I’m posting my favorite shot. Me nose to nose with sweet Duval. A magnificent animal who is clearly living a wonderful life with loving people surrounded by other admirers in the neighborhood. He’s a little rock star.


THE LESSON: Sometimes fear works in your favor. Doing something you don’t believe you can do. Doing something you NEVER said you’d do. Saying yes when you’re thinking “NO WAY”. And sometimes, free falling off the high dive and giving it a try is a good idea. Things are complicated right now for everyone I know. So many of us are forced to make changes that we weren’t expecting to have to make. I have a couple of very inspiring friends who admirably raise hundreds of butterflies across the country. Today my friend Patti Mumford posted that one of her Monarchs fell when hatching and his wings were a little wrinkled. Man, I have SO felt that when I’m trying something new. Wrinkled wings! Patti named this butterfly Confucius and ended her post with this quote: Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart”. Thank you Patti. Thank you Marc and Gayle. And special thanks to little Duval. If you are interested in commissioning a painting, email me at smithgirlarts@gmail.com Dogs aren't my only subject matter ;) #smithgirlarts


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