Tuesday, March 8, 2011


16x20" oil on canvas

Say hello to Cliff. A just completed commission, the portrait is a gift to Cliff's owner who is heartbroken over his recent passing. Such an amazingly beautiful beast and so very sad that he is no longer with us.

The passing of a pet is made all the more heartbreaking by the concept that he or she was just that...a pet. An animal. Everyone is different and handles grief the way that works best for them but for me, losing a pet is like losing a family member. Period. My heartfelt condolences to Cliff's family. He was stunning and I know he'll be missed.

We had a big wind come through the other night and knock down a new section of our stockade fence. I let the boys out after breakfast for their toilette and went to put a load of laundry in. I'm a worry-wart and usually check the fences before letting them out in the backyard, but this morning for some reason I didn't. When I got the washer started I went to the back door to check on them and didn't see them. Figuring they were around the side of the house I went to make sure and saw the fallen section of fence and discovered, to my horror, they were gone!

I was frantic, screaming for Tim, running through the house and out the front door calling their names. We live on a fairly busy street, it was the beginning of rush hour and there was a lot of traffic going by. My neighbor must have heard me because she was out and coaxing Raz from the street. He saw me and ran over. Scooping him up, I was scanning the yards and streets for Blu, when my neighbor pointed him out, three houses over on the front lawn. Thankfully the traffic seemed to have disappeared as he crossed the streets safely when I called him.  Happily behind the front door with our two bundles of love, I collapsed in a heap as they jumped all over me, snorting and showering me with kisses.  I am so grateful they were alright.

I will be checking the fence, constantly, from this point on.


  1. That sounds very traumatic! Thank goodness they were okay!
    Cliff is SO handsome! You have clearly done him justice and my goodness, his owners couldn't wish for a better portrait than this - It is absolutely beautiful! :0)

  2. Your portrait of Cliff is beautiful! He is so handsome and you captured a regal quality in him.

    Glad your boys are ok! Very scary to have them gone. We had the same experience with Maggie last summer and I was a wreck until we found her. She has NO street smarts!

  3. Gorgeous work! I'm sure Cliff's family will shed a tear or two.

  4. *phew* I was holding my breath until the end of your harrowing event! I'm glad they are safe and sound. Now back to oo'in and ahh'ing your memorial piece. Fantastic job Suzanne. I'm always learning something from you.

  5. Hi Suzanne,

    I am sure this portrait of Cliff will make his family very happy. It's a beautiful portrait and I am sure they will cherish it always. What a great looking dog.

    I am glad your event with your dogs had a happy ending. It's so scary, I feel the same, they are a part of the family.


  6. Cliff's family is lucky to have someone so special to paint that wonderful painting of him. He is beautiful! Love his face and eyes. We just lost our little Maggie so I can relate to Cliff and your fear of loosing your own. Yes, check that fence! Whew:)

  7. Cliff is absolutely gorgeous, you are right. It's sad such a beautiful beast is not in the world anymore. What a great pose with great perspective, it captures him in such an attractive way.
    Your little escape artists saw their chance and took it, wonder what was going thru their minds??!!

  8. Oh dear...I am so sorry for Cliff's owners missing such a piece of their heart, their family. Cliff is indeed a beautiful boy (a Newfie, perhaps?). I recently lost my special buddy too so know the heartbreak that it entails. So glad to know your babies are ok, Suz. (And by the way, if you got spam email from me, I didn't send it and am trying to figure out how to make sure it doesn't happen again. Don't open it, please!)

  9. Good Morning Suzanne!... What a wonderfully uplifting portrait you created in your "Cliff"!

    Magnificent is the word that jumps to the fore in my mind! You have ably captured the gentleness and given the portrait the life back... that is now gone. I believe the owners will feel the great passion and presence that you have created.

    Your own love for these creatures added the necessary extra... that we all strive to give to the client who has faith in our work!

    Well done Suzanne! Sure gave me a morning lift!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  10. Cliff is just beautiful. I believe he was a Leonberger, which is the type of dog I have as well. They are the most wonderful dogs on earth - absolutely loving and tolerant. I don't even want to THINK of my babies going.
    Another beautiful piece, Suzanne.

  11. Stunning painting of Cliff, how sad he has passed, he looks such a gorgeous fella.

    You must have been so relieved that your 2 boys were found before any mishap could befall them, they probably thought that it was a wonderful adventure!

  12. Wow! You've created a fantastic visual tribute, Suzanne. Cliff is magnificent!

  13. Love, Love, Love Cliff! Absolutely gorgeous and I'm sure the owners are thrilled! So glad you got your furry children home safe and sound. My Moose escapes periodically, normally just looking for someone to pet him, but he ends up scaring everyone because of his size. I saw you Mastiff painting that you did a few years ago on your linked ap at the bottom of the post. I have a Masatiff and that painting blew me away! You are so talented!

  14. FIRST of all, I'm so glad you got your babies home safe and sound! How terrifying! Second, this is a wonderful portrait - what a beautiful pup, I'm sure they miss him terribly.

    I live in fear that Paco would escape - he walks right towards cars..

  15. What a beautiful noble looking dog. Your regal portrait is wonderful and is a fitting tribute.

    I'm glad to hear your doggies are safe and sound!

  16. Thank GOD they were alright! How traumatic!!
    I can't say enough about your portraits. Beautiful brushwork and likeness.
    We lost our 14.5 year old brown Himalayan tabby Wendell in October. Anyone who thinks a pet is just an animal must not have one. He was my 'boyfriend' and my hubby's and my love. Traveled with us by car to Florida and Canada every year.
    We adopted two little girls right away and they are filling the void.
    I still dream of him.

  17. Suzanne, he is a magnificent animal and you have done a magnificent job capturing him. I am sure his family will be very happy with this portrait.

    All the best to you

  18. Beautifully done. Love that streak of light, it kind of moves him to a higher level. I know the family will enjoy this painting for years to come.

  19. Exquisite photo and I am sure that this will be treasured forever.

    So glad that you got "the kids" -- scary!!


  20. thank you all so very much for stopping by and leaving such incredibly kind and supportive comments, both on cliff and the safe return of the boys. the support of this community means so much on so many levels. thank you!

  21. Hi Suzanne,

    I have been playing major catch-up this week and have just now sat down to read my favorite blogs. I am soooooo happy that your little dudes are okay and that their adventure didn't take them so far that they couldn't be found. What a sinking feeling that must have been. Whew! Big sigh of relief.

    And this painting is a magnificent tribute to Cliff. What a beauty... he looks majestic and I am certain his family will forever feel his presence through this portrait. Well done!


  22. Oh, what naughty puglets! So glad they're all right.

    This is such a beautiful dog portrait!!! You can see what a great spirit this "beast" had. As you know, for me, our cats and dogs are absolutely part of the family.


Your visits to my blog and the comments you leave here are an integral part of my creative process. They are helpful, supportive and well, let's face it, they feel really good! If I don't thank you personally, please allow me to thank you in advance for taking the time to stop by and leave your thoughts, they mean so much!