Title: Junior / Dimensions: 5″W x 7″H / Medium: Watercolor

This is Junior under the bougainvillea bush. As you can see, I really pushed for style in this piece and veered away from doing a purely photorealistic painting as I had done in my previous paintings. I cringe somewhat at the explosion of color evident here (even though my palette consisted of only four colors) but at the same time the process was so enjoyable such that, despite this piece bordering on garish, I cannot help but like it. The colorfulness makes me happy, and I feel that I have achieved enough balance in spite of the bold color choices.  

With this piece, I complete my pet portrait series of my own dogs and cats – a total of eleven portraits. It took me a long while to get back to painting this last piece. Close to only a month ago, my beloved Labrador Ollie was diagnosed with a malignant mass on his intestinal tract which had to be operated on. Sadly, he did not recover well from his surgery, possibly due to the aggressive nature of the cancer. And only two weeks from the time of diagnosis, I had to make the painful decision to put him to sleep to relieve him of his suffering.

Naturally, I found myself uninspired to draw or paint anything during the time of this ordeal and in the days following his passing. This was mostly because I was afraid to sit down and paint and be alone with my overwhelmingly sad thoughts, knowing that I would most likely end up ruining the painting with my tears.

It’s always sad to lose a pet, but it is particularly painful when it happens so unexpectedly, where only a few weeks ago he was a lively dog, never refusing food nor a walk, and was game to play with my brother’s dog Lilo when she came to visit. It breaks my heart to think that already during that time he was quietly enduring the pain in his abdomen, and I was none the wiser.

As a tribute to his life, I compiled a few of his photographs into a slideshow that I would like to share here: