I discussed in an earlier blog how I begin each animal painting with the eyes. This holds true once again in the painting of our dog. Tucker is an Australian Shepherd that we have owned since he was six weeks old. When we bought him we were told we could choose the puppy that we wanted. They were all for sale. It was difficult for my husband, to decide with so many little balls of fur jumping on our legs begging to be held. However this was easy for me. Beautiful baby blue eyes said take me home with you. At that time, I had just retired from teaching but still felt the need to teach and it did not matter what or who it was. When we brought Tucker home he became my student. What a great little student he proved to be! He soon learned within just a few days how to sit, lay, stay, shake hands, and roll over. Each day I would teach him a new trick with Cheerios as his reward. The following day we would review and then on to a new lesson. He was so motivated. Constantly looking up at me with those blue eyes waiting to hear a command and so eager to learn. What a little smarty! To this day, now a grown dog, he remembers all that he was taught and has even learned to open and close gates on the farm, herd and fluff the hay for the horses, warns us if strangers arrive, greets everyone on the back porch with a wagging welcome, keeps the birds out of the back yard, and polices the cats at the barn. We’ve learned, the hard way, that we better have a job for him or he makes up one.
It’s always a surprise and many times it’s not a chore that we needed or wanted him to do!
Also to our surprise, as he grew, the beautiful blue eyes that we were told would never change did the unthinkable. They transformed into a completely different color. On that summer day hazel eyes were looking in the back door at me. Luckily the camera was nearby so I snapped his picture. After seeing the photo I knew that I had to paint those eyes. Using conte crayon on charcoal paper, I decided to give it a try. Beginning with his hazel eyes the painting began. Even though I wish the eyes had remained blue, I do love the eyes I see now. Through our eyes, Tucker is one very special dog to our family and has proven to be a great subject for painting.