Drawing from life can be really intimidating for kids. One of the tools I like to use is a sense of humor. That’s the really great thing about animals. They bring out the comical side in artists. Dogs Playing Poker? A Classic…maybe not, but this dog playing piano…that’s another story. This painting, which hangs in the VMFA’s newly organized animal exhibit is a cult favorite. This spaniel is realistically painted, well rendered, you can see the individual strands of pet hair that this pet owner might later have to remove from the piano bench. This painting (done by Philip Reinagle, the famous dog painter) makes us feel at ease to try drawing and painting ourselves. It is a good thing, too, because next week Jennifer Kyzer is bringing in one of her very well trained dogs this week for us to draw. We have been practicing dog sketches in class. I introduced the lesson by playing some piano music on my elderly boom box and asking my students to close their eyes and imagine who was playing the music. When they opened their eyes I showed them the dog on the piano and they all enjoyed my joke. The sheet music from the painting is actually “God Save the Queen” but oddly I didn’t have that on CD 🙂
I will update this post as we get some really nice dog drawings from our live models starting Wednesday. Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t rain.