46 x 80 in | oil finger painting on canvas
In 2016, when the congestion and lack of nature in New York City started bothering me, I took myself on a trip to New Mexico to snoop around. I wanted to determine if the desert might be my next home after New York. Having never been there, and with no friends in the desert to stay with, I got online and browsed through Airbnb rentals and found a fun little vintage trailer to stay in for a few days while I explored the region. Set in Northern New Mexico near Taos, the host, Amy, had a tan colored El Camino parked out front, and when she greeted my car a horde of dogs in all shapes and sizes came to greet me. They were hyper small breeds bouncing around like yippy popcorn. Towering over all of the pups, like a weightless horse, was an unearthly Saluki. Amy welcomed me to my separate yellow trailer and invited me into her own trailer for coffee. I was captivated by her Saluki perched on the sofa. The dog stared, unwavering, in my direction with an all-knowing air. Her eyes said “I’m just in a dog body right now, but don’t be fooled, I understand everything you two are saying and I’m just undercover.”
When I took the photo originally in 2016 I didn’t have the skills yet to pull off a painting where the dog was depicted life size. I had to wait until my painting abilities improved and that day finally came in late 2018.
What I love about this painting is how the black sheepskin billows around the subject like a feather boa. She sits for her portrait like a woman of royal birth. Her long supermodel limbs drape over the edge of the sofa, and the painted texture of her furry paws echo the texture throughout the black fur that frames her. Her ears are feathery like human hair, they almost don’t even look like ears, and her tan coat matches the tan vintage sofa. I carved the black paint into deep grooves, so the original catches light in different ways all day. The orange wood paneling of the trailer sets off the bright green cacti and purple-ish pot on the right side.
For me this painting is about recognizing how animals are more similar to us than they are dissimilar. They have unimaginable internal thoughts, and they are more aware than many people choose to admit.
I will be moving to New Mexico in mid to late 2019. This trip sealed the deal. I can’t begin to imagine how the enchanted Southwest will affect my art…
If you would like to stay at Amy’s Airbnb trailer, I highly recommend her listing: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/13766091?guests=1&adults=1