"The Hunter's jack Russell"
In October 99, during a personnal exhibition in Paris, the wife of a hunting master commissioned me the portrait of her dog, a young Jack Russell terrier. She wanted her dog painted exactly like "Mr Macho", my first dog portrait. I took a lot of photos and started drawing her pet dog. But then my paint-brush felt frozen in my hand. I was bored with simple dog portraits, frustrated not to get commissions on more important paintings.

So I called Claude to tell her what kind of picture I wanted to paint. She was great and gave me a free hand to create her painting. At my request,Claude brought back her dog and all her hunting equipment. As it was a very rainy day, I put an halogen spot on the balcony. Look at this picture.
Doesn't it look like a very sunny day ?
All my photographs were excellent, and "Opus", the Jack Russell, was full of expression. As you can see, the pup looks a bit lost in this new home, but curious of everything, he still wants to play.
Then followed 6 weeks of pure happiness. I knew this painting would be beautiful. The red of the fitting coat, the green of the columns, the gold of the curtains, the light on the worn leather boots. Detail after detail, I felt great pleasure in giving the best of my technique.
Many very different matters were gathered: the wood of the armchair, the horn of the whip, the blue velvet of the pocket, the golden ribbon of the hat. It was a real pleasure to face and overcome these challenges. Such a rich composition was exactly what I had dreamed of painting.
When she saw my painting, Claude exclaimed :
"It's the most beautiful painting you ever made".

And it was true ! In each art contest, where it was exhibited, this dog portrait earned me the public's first prize.
Did I tell you it was a watercolour painting ?
Slide your mouse on the picture to see the detail.
Why a hidden signature ?

Why and where did I hide my signature in this dog portrait?
First of all, I dont think a signature makes a picture more beautiful, no more than a tag embellishes the faŤade of a house. That's why, I always try to sign as discreetly as possible.

The second reason?
In November 99, I was exhibiting at the "Salon des Indépendants" in Paris, for its 100th anniversary. Among the numerous artists presenting their works, there were a few great masters in "trompe l'oeil". We became friends and they taught me one of the rules in their art:
the painter's signature has to be part of the scene. It's a game for the amateur to find where the artist has hidden it. I was very fond of this principle so I put it into practice for my next painting.
In this picture, even if it is a dog portrait, the Jack Russell is in the middle distance. He brings life in this stilllife where the boots in the foreground seem to be the main subject.

Logically, I signed at the place, where the bootmaker would have engraved his client's name.

Oil or watercolour ?

Of course this painting is a watercolour, 55 x 70cm. But I chose to varnish it and exhibit it without a pane.
Why ?
Because a fool
once came to see me from a hole in the middle of Nowhere in Normandy to give me a commission for portraits of his dogs. As he was looking at the dog portraits in the gallery, he asked me: "Don't you do paintings ?"
... Hum ? ....You know, what I mean : a real painting doesn't have a glass! "
... Well !!! If you say that !
In later discussions with specialists, I discovered, that it was possible to varnish a watercolor painting and I tested it on a few pictures.
During the "Salon des Indépendants", one year later, I heard a bunch of pedantic experts gathered in front of my watercolour paintings speechifying on my interesting oil technique.
I didn't say a word. They looked so serious, they couldn't be wrong. Right ?

My next dog painting is built on the same principle

The hobby of this client was not horse riding, nor hunting, but falconry

Follow the guide to see the falconner's dog