“You NEED to do a Boston” the dog groomer says to me. She looks me straight in the eye and holds my gaze for minutes it seems, half smiling but with an intensity that’s almost frightening. I had walked into her dog grooming shop to show her some samples of my pet portraits and jewelry and she promptly asked me about any Boson Terriers I might have painted.
“No, I haven’t painted any yet. . .but yours could be the FIRST!” I say with exuberance, trying to cover up the guilt I strangely feel for not having painted one already. What have I been thinking?!
“People would buy it up! It’s so HARD to find Boston stuff. I’m always looking for cute Boston gifts and there just isn’t any out there!” She whips out a key chain with a little Boston Terrier image and says “see” as if showing me the one treasure she’s found would make me realize how desperate the world is for cute Boston artsy stuff.
She’s one of my biggest fans, enthusiastically, albeit intensely, encouraging me to try try try! Try painting a Boston and she’ll tell her whole Boston breed group about me. Try selling my things at Woofstock, an annual upcoming dog show in Vallejo. Try to paint a poodle and she’ll not only wear the jewelry in the ring while showing two poodles, but will share with the other poodle breeders how spectacular my art is!
I ended up trying all of her suggestions, some of which were more successful than others. The poodle I attempted to paint turned out looking like a white marshmallow with a snout. I blame the huge bouffant hair-do poodles wear in the show ring–impressive to look at, but not conducive to painting and shrinking to make into jewelry. More successful were the photographs I took of her Boston Terrier, Angel, which I then painted and made into a necklace which she wore in the ring.
The most successful was that she did, in fact, tell her breed club about me. I had a woman approach me at Woofstock asking about my jewelry. I ended up painting her Boston Terrier because she said “if I didn’t have you paint my dog then every time I look at the necklace I’d know it was her dog, not mine”. Always a good reason to have a custom pet portrait done, right?