“I’m Gonna Be Like You, Dad” (Entry in National Purebred Dog Day Fine Art/Poster Competition 2016)

Title:“I’m Gonna Be Like You, Dad”NPDDART2016,Irish Red and White Setter, Dianne Turner

Artist: Dianne Turner

Medium: Oil pastel

Price: Sold

Painting Details: An original oil pastel of three year old Irish Red and White Setter male, “Laurel Oak Must Say Hello to Heaven, (aka “Murphy” bred by Judy Baumgartner) holding a pheasant after he has retrieved it from a hunt, along with this 8 week old Irish Red and White Setter son, “Classic Affinity Knock Three Times (aka “Z” bred by Cathy Albertson) proudly holding up a pheasnt feather to his daddy and communicating to him, “Someday I’m gonna be like you, dad” (meaning being able to point and retriever a full pheasant from the field). Pheasant hunting is one of this purebred dog’s passion and this father/son team epitomize this sport of the dog in this original drawing. While this breed points birds, they can retriever birds as well and have a natural instinct for it. Irish Red and White Setters are one of the older breeds depicted in paintings by the end of the 1700s. The white markings help the hunter see the dog in the field. Both “Murphy” and “Z” are very “birdy” and love pointing birds in real life.  

I first learned of this competition on a post from an Irish Red and White Setter breeder who posted the competition.  One of the comments from  folks was, I hope someone does something with Red and Whites so that the breed is represented in the competition.  I’ve drawn Setters all my life.  But, when learning of this competition, I knew I was going to have hand surgery on my dominant hand.  My surgery was in July 2016 and close to the time I needed to get to work on the piece.  I went to an Irish Red and White Setter breeder to do research by taking photos, attending dog shows and taking photos of the breed and sketching to start getting ideas for doing a piece for this competition.  I also put my hands on several grown dogs and puppies to get a feel for the structure or the conformation to the standard. I had several ideas for this piece, but I wanted to make the ideas conform to the criteria.  After hand surgery, I decided I would give drawing a try again.  It was in the back of my mind that I wanted to enter this competition to have the Irish Red and White Setter breed represented.  The best idea I could think of was to have a father son picture so that it would represent purebred lineage of a dog that has only a few registrations in the country.  My area of drawing specialty is oil pastels.  It is not an exact drawing medium.  I also did not want to do a duplicate of something that has already been done many times over in a painting, drawing or commission of the breed.  I researched many paintings of the breed to make sure my idea was not represented or had been done before.  I couldn’t find one.  There it was, my idea inception.  I took a photo of my own Irish Red and White Setter’s father, “Laurel Oak Say Hello to Heaven” aka Murphy, bred by Judy Buamgartner, and photos of a litter of puppies with pheasant feathers from Cathy Albertson’s Class Kennels in Simi Valley, California.  I wanted to create an image of my dog “Classic Affinity Knock Three Times,”  aka “Z,” bred by Cathy Albertson, as an 8 week old puppy, holding a pheasant feather and presenting it to his daddy, Murphy, holding a pheasant, to show him, that one day, he too would be like him. While drafting the drawing I kept in mind the criteria, and what I’d learned about the purebred dog breed through watching shows, videos online, reading, viewing works of art by various artists and taking my own photos of the breed.  I thought, “I hope I can make all of those in the United States wanting to see their purebred Setter breed, the oldest of the setters and arguable the least known, known by submitting a drawing.  Ahh, but my hand.  Each and every time I pick up the pastel to draw it was painful, but the hope and fun of drawing it for this delightful competition overcame my thoughts of embarrassment of an entry that would not meet the beautiful work shown by the National Purebred Dog Day posts on Facebook of various featured breeds.  I must press on though.   My idea was completed.  An oil pastel that shows a purebred Irish Red and White Setter with Murphy’s markings that I drew from a photo I took, holding a pheasant, one of the reasons why Red and Whites are bred for pheasant hunting, and an 8 week old son with my dog, Z’s markings form a photo I took of an 8 week old puppy, holding a pheasant feather up to the father as if to say, “I’m gonna be like you, Dad, someday (with the whole bird retrieved in my mouth, not just a feather).   I realize this drawing is not the masters that artists like John James Audubon, who owned an Irish Red and White Setter to hunt birds is, or a Thomas Eakins who owned an outcross Red and White, but it is every bit my heart and soul.  The completed work will to do what I want to do:  support purebred dogs through an entry in this competition.  Thank you for considering my entry, I’m pleased to be a part of this. I hope I have met the wishes of the breeders of United States Irish Red and White Setters who expressed they hoped someone would enter an original work of the breed in the competition.  National Purebred Dog Day has allowed me to make their wishes come true.   The title of the oil pastel of purebred Irish Red and White Setters father and son, is “I’m Gonna Be Like You, Dad.”

Artist’s thoughts: I got my first purebred dog after earning straight “A’s” in fourth grade.  My parents didn’t let me select her, they did, an apricot toy poodle.  A toy poodle because my brother had allergies to dogs.  I vowed one day, I would get the dogs of my dreams as a poodle was not it.  I also used to collect ceramic figurines of purebred dogs and kept them on a shelf in my room since I was very young.  I had English Setters, rough collies, a Boston Terriers, boxers and poodles.  My very first purebred figurine was a black and white English Setter.  I used to draw it during down time in school and any free time I had.  When our class went on a field trip to Gettysburg, from the Washington, DC area, my mother gave me souvenir money to buy a civil war souvenir.  Once in the gift shop filled with civil war mementos that my class was buying, I looked in the glass case and saw ceramic dog figurines.  There, I saw it, a Setter with large spots on it that was different than the one I had, I had to have it for $5.  When I returned home, my mother scolded me for buying a ceramic Setter in Gettysburg, it  wasn’t a bullet, hat, flag, toy gun replica, or book, and it was a Setter, that I already had in my ceramic figurine collection.   It was the perfect souvenir for me.  Since then, I’ve been on a quest to pursue the purebred dog.  In 6th grade, we had to have a book form home to read in class when we finished our regular reading assignments in our books.  My book was the “The Complete Dog Book” published sometime in the 1950’s by the AKC.  I memorized standards of breeds I wished I’s have and dream about having them one day.   Back then I loved the Setter photos and the Husky and Malamute.  My mother loaned the book to someone at work who had just gotten a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, he never returned the book.  So I bought her the latest edition which was the 18th edition at the pet store.  She always kept the book by her bedside.  After her passing, I kept the 18th edition for her memory, it is on the shelf in front of my computer.  The Internet is here now and the National Purebred Dog Day Facebook site, but nothing compares to the memories of having that book.    I always dreamed about the big purebred dog I would have.  Once I was older and in art school, my mother would take me around to galleries and look at hunting scenes prints and paintings in the Washington, DC area.  She was always interested in hunting dogs as she herself had had American Cockers, shown and bred them prior to having children.  That was what stuck in my mind, the beauty of the hunt with the dogs and horses in those paintings.  She bought and professionally framed a print that hunting in a prominent place in our home.  I helped my mother select which print she wanted to spend good money on to frame.  We chose “The End of the Hunt” (I don’t know the artist).  The print is filled with spotted hunting dogs quite possibly some, the Irish Red and White Setter.  And so it continued after my house and parents were long gone.  I kept that print in my home office now, and when opportunity arose, I got my own Irish Red and White Setters6 years after being inducted into the AKC and five years after my seeing one at a dog show for the first time.  I now have one male Irish Red and White Setter, whose heritage and lines go back to Ireland just a couple of generations back, and another, a girl, that was imported from Poland to have more lines in the United States.  Irish Red and White Setters have always been in my mind, but not physically in my life.  Now after years as a child of coveting ceramic Setters and seeing them represented in art, I have two.  Soon, I’ll be taking a trip to Ireland to learn even more about the homeland of this breed that has been in my heart for so long, I just didn’t know what it was. Now that I do, they will always be a part of my heart (red and white heart, that is).

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