Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mystery Dog Revealed

Oil on Canvas
Click the picture to enlarge it!

So finally, here is the "rest of the story," as Paul Harvey would say. This is a story about a dog, a couple in love, a talk show radio guy and an artist, and a surprise wedding present.

I will try to consolidate this, but I fear I will make a short story long becaue this commissioned painting has been a whole lot of fun for me.

The Dog: He is a pound puppy, one of the lucky ones who gets adopted to a good home to be loved and have good care. (This is a cause close to my heart.) He has, as you can see, that great marking around one eye that reminds people of the RCA dog, or Petey, the Little Rascal's dog. He has been named Fisher.

The Couple: Molly Grantham and her new husband, Wes Hyland were engaged to be married when they picked out Fisher from the line-up at the pound. My understanding of this is that Molly wasn't too keen on getting a dog, but Wes, her fiancee, really wanted a dog. Upon adopting Fisher, Molly fell in love with the little canine fellow, and has been really delighted to have him. Molly is the TV anchor for the WBT affiliate station, WJZY on channel 8 at 10:00 pm weeknights. She is beautiful and has an infectious smile that will knock your socks off! Besides that, she has abundant energy and is involved with " Make a Wish Foundation" and various other charity efforts in Charlotte. Wes, who I know much less about, moved to Charlotte from Kentucky to marry his beautiful Molly and begin a great married life upon their wedding last weekend. And, the location of their wedding was Fort Fisher, which is where Fisher, the dog, gets his name!

The Talk Show Radio Guy and the Artist: Keith Larson, the morning talk show host for WBT 1110 AM/99.3 FM radio, arrived in Charlotte in 2001 about the same time I closed my stationery company and moved into my new studio. Two people making a fresh start on new ventures....he with his new radio gig, mornings 9:00am to Noon, and me, with my change from producing stationery and commercial art to a complete focus on painting fine art.

So, there I was, sitting alone in my studio with brushes and oil paints, when I heard Keith begin to read passages from George Orwell's 1984, words I hadn't heard since studying English Lit in High School. He grabbed my attention at that moment. I was so enthused to hear this reading. Here was someone who really gets it, someone who understands individual liberties and found the perfect illustration to make his point regarding the erosion of our rights and liberties day by day. I was so taken by this that I emailed him that day and told him how much I appreciated his doing this. To my surprise, he emailed me back. That was the beginning of a frendship of emails and issues that I am delighted to have. And for six years now he has continued to amaze me with his range and ability to talk intelligently on so many different subjects that I wonder when he has time to sleep. Listening to Keith is like having a great conversation with your best friend. He covers the gamut from serious issues on the local, state, and federal levels, rips your heart out with a true reason to care about a charity organization....and then has you on the floor laughing over some silliness like his " lavender folder" or some hockey game he conjures up with all of his women media friends on the WBT ice rink.

Keith and his wife have two dogs, Murphy and Cooper. And Keith does commercials for Purina dog foods. Knowing his interest in dogs, at some point I emailed Keith some samples of my dog portraits for him to see what I had been painting while listening to his show.

The Surprise Wedding Present: Molly is a guest on Keith's show regularly. But one day she arrived in the studio with Fisher in tow, telling the story of "the pound" and how she and Wes had adopted Fisher. Hmmmmm...what to get Molly and Wes for their wedding? A light bulb moment occurred. In March Keith decided to look into the idea of commisssioning a portrait of Fisher for Molly and Wes' wedding present. (Smart thinking ahead of time enough to let oil paints dry, I must say!!) After finishing the portrait in April I published it with Fisher's name as the title. Well, Keith yelled, "Stop the presses!!!" He was very concerned that Molly would get wind of the surprise due to Molly's popularity and Fisher's name on the internet. So ...I unpublished the blog. Then republished the blog using a "Mystery Dog" title so it would not be googled with the name and ruin the surprise for Molly and Wes! The surprise was saved and now Fisher's portrait is hanging in their home.

So, that is the "rest of the story," except to say just a couple of more things.

First, I loved doing this portrait. Keith had terrific pictures from which to work and Fisher is a good subject! But further, I have loved being included in this wedding surprise for these fun and interesting people who enrich my life by virtue of the Radio/TV media...and getting to know Keith a bit more!

And secondly, I have loved being part of something that may encourage people to take a look at the pound and adopt an animal that may turn out to be the best companion animal you could ever ask for. It's a good thing to do! My husband and I have a rescued dog from the pound whose name is Bosley and who we adore.

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