A Dog A Day
WORDS BY Meredith Forrester
UK-based artist Sally Muir’s latest, yearlong project A Dog A Day is helping me through this suddenly freezing, puddle-filled winter one painterly puppy at a time. Every day since February 19 Muir has posted a new drawing, painting or ‘phone sketch’ of a dog (and sometimes dogs, plural) to her Facebook page and will continue to do so for what’s left of the year—or, as she herself puts it, her “365-day dogfest”.
To Muir, “painting dogs is more direct and less complex” than painting people: “[It’s] more about shape and texture and straightforward characteristics, and of course you don’t have to deal with self-image.” Her works are expressive, full of movement and uniquely characteristic of the dogs she depicts—some of which belong to her, some to her friends, while others she dreams up on a whim. While oil is her medium of choice, she does also work with charcoal and ink; her loose brushstrokes and freeform marks capture her subjects’ personalities, fur textures and eye-twinkles so simply. And it’s this very personal touch to her style that led to one of her most endearing experiences. “Someone who was in hospital having heart surgery … was missing her dog terribly [and] was cheered up by one of my drawings in the hospital corridor [that] looked just like her dog; she said it helped her recover.”
For the sake of honesty, Muir isn’t literally drawing one dog every day—it’s a nice sentiment, but even for someone whose own children consider her to be “dog-obsessed” that could turn into a bit of a task. She’s found that, due to her fast process, she’s able to work on a number of pieces a day, leaving room to do none on the next if need be. And while she worries a little about inevitable repetition, “the fear of getting repetitive may make [her] try out new things”. But what will she do when the 365 days are over? “I’ll be quite lost … A Sheep A Day? A Hamster A Day? I can’t imagine I’ll stop painting dogs.”
But for the next 240 or so days, a new dawn brings a new dog to her page. The cherry on top of it all, of course, is the suspense of wondering whether it’ll be a scruffy terrier drawn in charcoal or a cheeky-eyed, oil-on-paper labrador complete with frozen Widgeon wing in its mouth.
Check the A Dog A Day Facebook page
Tags A Dog A Day, Art, Drawing, Facebook, Illustration, Painting, Portrait, Sally Muir