6 or 8 weeks old

Today the sun is shining so brightly that you can not help but feel your spirits raise, at least a little.
If I could bottle a little, I would like to send some to friends in Gaylord, MI, who have been buried under overcast skies and mounds of snow for months now.
I think their total is something like 160+ inches…and with many days of negative temperatures.

The image of the dog, a Rough Collie, was actually our pet, but really more like a family member. Lassie was with us for 13 years, before hip dysplasia took her down and out of our lives.

I know you are be surprised (not really) to hear that my daughter named her Lassie, oh so original right? Her registered name went something like…Ashley’s Baby Doll. Corny, but, as a mom of twins who were one year old and a seven year old, I didn’t have time to sit around and come up with original names which someone else had not already conceived of and used.

20 x 24
oils on canvas

Lassie was larger than life kind of pet. She was loyal to a fault and had a wonderful loving personality. She became my comrade against the children.  Wherever I was was in the house, if I looked outside the window, Lassie was sitting within sight. When we were outdoors, she was with me and the kids every step. But like a big baby, she never realized that she was NOT small enough to sit on my lap for some extra attention. Many banana popsicles were shared, sitting on the porch steps together watching the kids play.

With Lassie’s herding instincts, she naturally kept us, as well as, the kids corralled and as safe as possible. If the twins decided to out maneuver me and split up,  one going one way and the other in a different direction, she would always attend to the unruliest (yes, this means you my son, Shaun).  If she could not get Shaun herded back in the right direction she would try to stop him by holding his shirt tail, shorts, or arm in her mouth and pulling him back towards me. If this failed, then she would push him down and kind of sit on him/hover over him until I could get him. He was never very happy about this.

It amazed me to see such a large animal handle them so gently.  I would never have believed it possible if I had not witnessed it with my own eyes, on more than one occasion. In her prime she tipped the scales at 120 pounds. Lassie came from a champion stock bloodline and her mothering instincts, noble carriage and intelligence made quite the impression on everyone lucky enough to met her.

When she passed the entire neighborhood mourned her loss. I was devastated. I had a hard time trying to come to grips with her passing. I couldn’t hear her name without tearing up. One day I decided to do a painting of her to help me process some of the grief. The painting above was the result. I had never painted a dog, and I was very proud, I felt like I had captured her well.  The process helped me. I realized that putting her in to a piece of art would kind of memorialize her in a way that we could both be proud of.

Skip forward a few years. We move to a new house. A mishap occurs and the painting is damaged by fire. For several years the piece had a strong burnt odor. I kept it hanging out in the garage, because I couldn’t bare to get rid of the canvas. Every day as I come and go from the house I see the painting of Lassie hanging on the wall. The damage is there, staring at me, lately more then ever.

I have decided to bring the painting in and see how extensive the black soot is, and if there is any way I can repair the piece and cut the canvas off the frame and rewrap it on a smaller one. I will chronicle the steps here with you. Fingers crossed, and here we go….

damaged, torn, discolored & bubbled paint

closer view

backside of canvas
(actually this looks less daunting than I feared)

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” -Josh Billings