Golden Retriever Original Print

Here is the 8th breed in my dog tag print series – the Golden Retriever. This well known and loved breed is also adored by over 160 celebrity owners including Martha Stewart, Ronal Reagan, Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Taylor, Jerry Seinfeld, Jackie Chan and Christopher Reeve.

Golden Retriever Print

The  Golden Retriever was developed by the wonderfully named British aristocrat, Lord Tweedmouth, in the late 1800s, as a handsome and practical gentleman’s hunting companion. Tweedmouth was an avid hunter and well connected gentleman in Victorian society.

In 1865 Lord Tweedmouth bought the only yellow pup from a litter of black wavy coated retrievers and crossed him with the (now extinct) Tweed Water Spaniel, a rugged water dog with excellent retrieving abilities. He wanted to create the perfect sporting dog to retrieve upland game and waterfowl on his Scottish estate, but also an animal that was handsome and of a biddable, sweet disposition — an ideal a family pet.
Today’s Golden Retrievers are a testament to those early ideals.

Golden Retriever Art Print

Handsome as a Hollywood movie star, sensitive and intelligent companions, with smiling faces and heart-melting eyes, its hard to resist the allure of a Golden! Their inherent retrieving instinct and strong desire to please their people means that they love to carry things in their mouths – shoes, underwear and soft toys rank high on theirs list of favourite things to collect and present as gifts to their cherished family.

Framed Golden Retriever Print

Yet these dogs are so much more than a pretty face. Behind all the glamour lies a versatile and accomplished hunter who loves to be at one with nature. I always smile when I meet a mud-covered Golden out on a walk, fresh from romping through the undergrowth, wallowing in the mud and rolling in all manner of unmentionable substances. They simply love to have a good time with their people. What more could you ask from a dog?

The print combines my hand drawn lettering with illustration and each one is hand-printed on my press in a rich yellow ochre ink, then individually signed.

Prints are available both framed and unframed from my online shop

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier Print

The popular Staffy is much misunderstood, frequently feared and often unfairly maligned by the media. They are (according to Kennel Club statistics at the time of writing) Britain’s 5th most popular dog, yet they also top the list of breeds in rescue centres and shelters in the UK. The truth is that while the Staffy might look like a tough dog, they are actually big softies – a loving, reliable and affectionate family dog, devoted to their human companions.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Pen and Ink Drawing by Debbie Kendall

So where do they get their bad rap from? Stan Rawlinson, the Dog Listener has written an excellent article on why this breed (the only one to be described by the Kennel Club as being ‘totally reliable’) has such a fearful reputation. Part of the reason is that the Staffie resembles many other of the so called ‘bully’ breeds that can be aggressive towards humans. In addition, staffies are often crossed with such breeds and this can alter or dilute the reliable Staffy anti-aggressive human bond.

Their tough looks and similarity to other more human-aggressive bully breeds, combined with easy availability from unscrupulous breeders, has sadly resulted in the Staffy becoming a status symbol dog amongst street gangs – a kind of ‘pseudo pit bull’.  These owners sometimes beat, torment and neglect  their dogs to try and make them into the ultimate aggressive accessory, to boost their street image and terrorise other gangs. They may also breed from their dog to generate income by selling the puppies. These puppies do not generally have the best start in life and are rarely properly socialised or appropriately trained. Indeed any breed of dog that is treated badly is likely to show aggression towards humans.

This is the key to why rescue shelters have a disproportionate number of Staffies. Many of the irresponsible owners who have acquired a Staffy to enhance their street credibility find that they are too much bother to look after, or having mistreated them are unable to control them. Neglect, inappropriate training and a poor understanding of a dog’s needs leads to many Staffies being abandoned or rescued by charitable organisations.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Print by Debbie Kendall

Created in England in the late 18th and early 19th century, Staffies were a cross between Bulldogs and Terriers, bred for the ‘sport’ of dogfighting by working class men. Staffies were expected to live harmoniously with their families, often in small spaces with lots of children. No aggression towards humans was tolerated and it is said that any dogs showing even the slightest signs of ill will towards their family members were ruthlessly weeded out.

As with all dogs, but particularly so for Staffies, they do have to be well socialised from an early age with other dogs and  animals in order that they do not develop aggression towards other dogs.

Hand lettering by Debbie Kendall

The Kennel Club recommends the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as being particularly suitable for families with children – one of only 2 breeds to deserve such a high accolade – and they describe the Staffy as:

“Extremely reliable, highly intelligent and affectionate, especially with children.”

Their reliable, loving nature and affinity for children is the reason that Staffords have earned the nickname “The Children’s Nursemaid” or “Nanny Dog”

My latest print celebrates all that is good about the Stafford. Hand lettered and illustrated, each print is hand printed on my press in a deep inky green – and individually signed.

Framed hand printed Staffy dog art by Debbie Kendall

Available from The Enlightened Hound’s online shop from just £40, unframed.

The Whimsical Whippet Print

Here is the latest print in my series of Dog Tag prints that celebrate the story of a breed. This time it is the Whippet, and although I do not own a Whippet I do have rather a soft spot for them! I sometimes see a Whippet tearing across the common in my village and I love to see him, literally running like the wind, with reckless abandon.

The Oxford dictionary defines ‘whimsical’ as ‘playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing or amusing way’ and I feel that it sums up the Whippet perfectly. The Whippet has a wonderful history and, although there is no specific proof, it is thought to be an ancient breed, as Whippet-like dogs were depicted in the art of several ancient civilisations including the Romans and Ancient Egyptians.

Whippet Print by Debbie Kendall, The Enlightened Hound

As they are the fastest dogs, for their weight, they are the consummate sprinter and as such were prized by the British working classes  as racing dogs. At the end of the 19th century in Northern England and the Midlands, Whippet racing was taken extremely seriously, as a good racing Whippet could top up the family’s income quite significantly. Easier to come by and cheaper to buy and look after than a Greyhound, the Whippet was nicknamed the ‘poor man’s racehorse’.

Hand Lettered Whippet Print Detail by Debbie Kendall, The Enlightened Hound

They also made a useful poacher’s companion, being extremely adept at catching rabbits, yet small enough to hide under a coat. It is easy to see why these dogs were cherished by their families and were always given the choicest cuts of meat, even if the family had to ‘go without’.

Framed Whippet Print by The Enlightened Hound

Officially recognised as a breed in 1891, the Whippet with its affectionate, gentle nature, sleek, elegant lines and wise, soulful eyes is for me, a truly lovely dog.

Combining hand lettering and illustration and printed by hand on my press in a deep smoky blue/grey ink, each print is individually signed.

From The Enlightened Hound’s website.

Hand painted reclaimed frames for “Dog Tag” prints

I have spent the last week or so building up some stock of my hand made frames. I make them all out of reclaimed wood from my local wood recycling centre so each batch is different and depends on what wood they happen to have in stock. This time I got my hands on some lovely cedar, weathered pine and the last of the old roofing boards from the Sandhurst army base.

reclaimed wood picture frames by Debbie Kendall

Although the frames are quite time consuming to make they seem to complement the handmade, nostalgic feel of my prints and I’m told they get lots of compliments in the galleries that stock my work.

reclaimed pine picture frame detail  reclaimed whitewashed frame

 

handpainted picture frame handpainted picture frame

Here they are with my prints inside…

reclaimed pine frame with linoprint & collage by Debbie Kendall

 

Reclaimed pine roofing boards from Sandhurst army base

framed labrador print by Debbie Kendall, The Enlightened Hound

 

Hand-painted reclaimed cedar frame in chalky matt duck egg blue

hand painted picture frame with labrador print by the enlightened hound

 

Hand painted reclaimed cedar frame in chalky matt graphite

hand printed portuguese water dog print by debbie kendall

 

Hand painted whitewashed reclaimed pine frame

Available to buy from my website

More hand made picture frames

As a printmaker, or any artist, who produces work to be framed, finding an original picture frame that doesn’t cost the earth can be tricky. It is why I started making my own frames a few months back from reclaimed wood. It was a pretty steep learning curve, an investment in some tools and specialist equipment and a search for a source of reclaimed wood, but it has been a very worthwhile investment in time and money for me.

reclaimed wood picture frame  handmade frame detailvintage style hand made picture frames

We held a party for my husband’s birthday recently and as part of that I invited a talented young artist, Harriet Riddell, to our house. She recreates a narrative of an event, in stitch on canvas, using her sewing machine. She sat under one of our gazebos stitching away, creating a wonderful keepsake of our party for us to frame.

I haven’t framed a canvas before so I thought I’d get our local framing shop to do this one for us, especially as the canvas was fairly large (about 70cms square). I picked a couple of mouldings and asked for a quote. The cheapest was £160 and the most expensive was £330! Perhaps my local framers are particularly expensive, but it was enough to kickstart me into action and after watching some You Tube videos on stretching a canvas, I thought I could probably do it. I was right. £28 of stretcher bars and tray moulding later, it was all sorted.

harriet riddell stitched narrative

I wanted a simple floating canvas frame – a bit different from the standard glossy black, so I bought a natural wood frame moulding and painted with graphite chalk paint,

handmade frame

I also had another personal framing project – Ian Rawnsley’s “Wee Ones” . These are small oils on hardboard panels, about 15cms square. I had an idea for the kind of frame I wanted, again a kind of ‘floating’ look but this time in a much wider moulding. I used reclaimed cedar and treated it with a white wash as I was aiming for a bleached driftwood look that would suit the coastal nature of the paintings.

ian rawnsley coastal painting

ian rawnsley wee ones

Portuguese Water Dog Art Print

I have been wanting to create something combining hand drawn lettering and illustration and I had in my mind an idea for a design based on a dog tag. In my recent post on Hand Lettering and Sketches I wrote about taking part in an online Hand Lettering project run by hand-drawn lettering and branding guru Jon Contino via the Skillshare website.

My original idea was making a new print in the form of a hang tag so I thought this course would be perfect to help me develop it. Most people on the course were designing labels for actual products, like bottles of beer or soap but the ‘product’ for which I was designing a label is a dog, or more accurately a specific dog breed…

Imagine a dog in a pound/shelter with a tag around its neck. The purpose of the tag (product label) is to give a prospective owner some information about the dog breed in the hope that they will rescue the dog. So it is really doing the same thing as a product label – trying to differentiate and tell a story of the product – but in this case a dog, rather than a botte of beer!

There’s a bit of Paddington Bear in this project too – the lost bear with a luggage label attached – entreating its finder to ‘look after this bear’.

Well my project has now come to fruition!  Of course I had to start with a Portuguese Water Dog as my dog, Figo is a ‘portie’.

portuguese water dog art print by debbie kendall

portuguese water dog art print hand lettered detail by debbie kendall

This illustration was too fine detail to be cut into a lino plate so I used a photopolymer plate instead which is capable of capturing much finer lines. Here is the plate…

photopolymer plate by the enlightened hound

I am intending to draw and print dog tag breed stories for other dog breeds… so watch this space for your breed!

portuguese water dog art print by the enlightened hound

These prints are on sale at The Enlightened Hound

If you know anyone with a Portuguese Water Dog, please point them in my direction. We ‘Portie’ owners love to meet each other!

New Local Stockists

Now that my prints are available in handmade, reclaimed wooden frames, they are currently gracing the windows of a couple of chic boutique interior & gift shops locally.

First up is Story in Bray (Berkshire, UK), a lifestyle boutique in the Old Post Office building in the picturesque village of Bray. Owner, Lindy Harpham has great eye for desirable and highly individual accessories for the home and also stocks a carefully edited selection of gorgeous scarves and jewellery.

alphabet soup display  lights

Alphabet Soup in Great Missenden (Buckinghamshire, UK) is a fun and inspiring store, full of delightful gifts and treats. It stocks an eclectic mix of original art, restyled furniture, decorative home-wares and fabulous gifts and cards.

alphabet soup great missenden

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My prints are also available in a lovely gallery in Barnstaple, Devon called  Atelier who specialise in affordable British contemporary art and crafts. The owner, Tracey Benton hand picks a diverse selection of handmade crafts from independent makers across the UK.

Atelier Craft Gallery Devon

If you dont’ live near to any of these places then you can, of course, still buy The Enlightened Hound’s prints and cards online.