Ten years ago, my partner Jo said we needed a dog in our lives. I wasn’t convinced, so we compromised and we got a dog. Alice, the labradoodle, arrived several weeks later by plane from Christchurch, a little ball of soft cuddly fur, she was the Energiser bunny in disguise.
She’s more Lab than Poodle, our dog is an industrial waste disposal unit. On the plus side we don’t need a robot vacuum as the floors are licked by Alice ‘just in case’ a morsel has fallen overboard.
Tennis balls are her favourite, she will worry at one spot until the green “fur” tears, and that’s game over for the ball. Its bouncy days are finished, and the ball will be in bits and pieces in no time. The most horrifying incident occurred when Alice ate one hand off of “Godzilla”, the prop for my “Follow me” painting. The monster didn’t stand a chance.
If you have a dog, then you may be familiar with “Kong” if not, then Kong is a rubber toy that holds treats. Alice will bring Kong to me when she hears the coffee machine. We have an understanding no more than three treats for her and three coffees for me (that’s single shots folks, any more and I’m off the chart).
I don’t intend to become a painter of animals; there are far better-skilled artists than me in that field. But now and then, Alice will present the perfect opportunity, and I’m happy to take up the challenge.
And yes, I’m happy the furry fool is part of the family. There is always some chaos about to unfold with her somewhere, although it is less likely to involve destruction nowadays. Never say never.
My favourite photo of Alice is her watching me paint Fetch.
Alice has appeared or has been the inspiration of five paintings over the years, they are Fetch, Dream Job, Obsession, Chilling Out and What Now?
What Now?, Oil on Linen 125 cm x 95 cm