August 2003- While exhibiting my dog portraits and dog paintings in Knokke-le Zoute in Belgium, a very elegant lady fell in love with my pictures and gave me a commission to paint her pets: two dogs and a parrot. She wanted them in her beautiful garden in Holland. I drove in september at her home to take a few photos. As I was tired by the journey, this picture is not exactly in the same spirit of my other dog paintings.
I did not build the decor with accessories explaining my client's hobby: Gardening. If I had time to think, I would have shown wooden sabots, a spade and a rake, a secateur and a straw hat ... That is life !
I was tired and disturbed by the pets. There was this very old border terrier, and a very fat Labrador retriever and a really cute pop of labrador ... and beside of that a gabonese parrot in a cage. How should I deal with that ?

I decided to paint the dogs nearly like they were, but in a painting where lights and shadows in the garden will be the first feeling.

Here is a detail of the hydrangeas in a sun ray at the top left of the painting. As you see it is a work all in shades.
In the background, you can see the foliage of the wood behind the pool house. This foliage is very dark, with holes of direct light from this late afternoon sun.
It gives a true contrast with the flowers in foreground.

This border terrier is 17 years old !
On three rolls of film, I only succeed once to take a photo of him with his eyes open. I omitted a few (a lot !) white furs to make him look younger.

Look at the wooden bank in the light and in the shadow.

In the background, the meadow is ocre and the forest pure blue-violet. It is always a pleasure for the eyes.
While I was in Holland, I saw the gabonese parrot in his cage. I even took a photo, but he was hanging upside-down. I didn't know I had to paint him in the picture.

By chance, a friend of mine has 2 parrots at home, and they don't spend all their life in a cage. So I took a few photos of them and mixed the photos.

Just this part could be a great painting, isn't it ?

As you don't say anything, I know that you agreed

Here is the whole painting.

The colors are nos as bright as on the painting, but this gives you a good idea of the whole picture.
Do I have to repeat that this is a watercolour ?
a rather tall one, 80cm x 55cm.

You can see that the Labrador retriever is really fat... even if I enhanced her waistline
In fact, your eyes skip her body, you will see first her eyes and the border terrier in the sharp light, and then you look at the strong foreground, the bird and the basket.