With Taffy in Belgium
Reclaiming a water bottle that Taffy had mischievously "stolen" for attention while I was painting in the grounds.
Many artists have four legged companions that keep them company while they work. I often hear friends talking of their cats walking through their palettes or trying to drink from their water containers. I have two cats and two dogs. Biscuit and Buster came into our lives as kittens at almost the same time as our youngest Bearded Collie Bailey. My oldest pet Taffy came into my life over thirteen years ago whilst I was living in England but we moved to Dubai the year he arrived where he adapted to early morning walks on the beach to keep cool. I taught watercolour workshops at the Dubai International Art Centre and he often appeared in my paintings. From Dubai I moved to France where Taffy met French artists and next he appeared to learn to bark in Chinese as I returned to Hong Kong where my Chinese brushwork improved. Following a time in Belgium he then returned to UK and his "normal" barking which is either English or Welsh.
The amazing thing about Taffy is that wherever he has lived he has met artists and students of mine all over the world who adore him finding him a huge bear of a dog with a gentle spirit and heart of gold. He is loved by so many. To me he is invaluable as he nudges my arm when I have been painting for too long. In Taffys eyes an hour without attention is far too long so a push on my left arm , never my right as he knows I am right handed, will often lead to a hug, kind words or a stroll around the garden.
Taffy taught me to walk away from my work, take breaks and love each stage as a painting develops.Without him I would have raced to complete a piece. Because of him I have found that taking time out to enjoy the simple things in life is important as being continually locked away in a studio working intensively can lead to dull results. Thinking about a painting whilst moving away from it for a time really leads the brain to seeing possible pitfalls ahead of time,alternatives in colour additions or even chnages in the compositions.
My gentle friend is struggling this week. He has won so many battles with his health this year and my heart is sinking as I realise this is one battle he may not win. He is weak and although his tail gently thumps when I stroke him I know it really is a time when I need to treasure each moment with him.Time we have left.
This is a very difficult week and my brushstrokes right now hold no distraction.
My artists "friend" needs me.