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
We are thrilled to introduce Dog-Friendly, a collection of city guides for dog-loving people, created together with our long-time contributor, photographer Winnie Au, and fellow enthusiasts, indie publisher Hoxton Mini Press. Available for purchase here.
August 25, 2021
Have you ever imagined Amy Winehouse or Nick Cave as a Chihuahua, Neil Young as a Vizsla, or PJ Harvey as an Afghan hound? That’s exactly what San Francisco-based artist Michael Gillette has done through his unique illustration project, blending beloved, iconic music legends, both past and present, with their dog counterparts. Pack of Dogs, our first foray into book publishing, is a celebration of pup and pop culture for music and dog lovers alike.
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