There are lots of amazing dog portrait artists out there and I am always amazed by the incredible variety of ways that you can choose to have your dog rendered as a piece of art, from collage to pencil, oils or charcoal, traditional or modern – the choice is endless.
But I wanted to create something a bit different and even more personal …The result is Hounds in Verse – an illustrated poem that celebrates the wonderful character of each dog and their special relationship with their human.
Each poem is written in rhyming couplets and is completely bespoke and unique to each dog. I create the poems from the wonderful stories that each dog owner shares with me in response to a special questionnaire that they receive when the poem is commissioned.
The poems are intended to be fun, whimsical, touching and humorous and each one is individually hand lettered and illustrated in ink on Japanese Hosho paper.
I feel very privileged to read about the wonderful relationship people have with their dogs and how it manifests itself in their everyday lives and it is enormous fun to recreate this bond as a poem.
Here’s the Hounds in Verse illustrated poem I wrote about my Portuguese Water Dog, Figo.
“A Portuguese name, Figo, we chose,
After a football legend (for those in the know).
And true to his namesake, he loves to play ball,
But the thrill of the chase is the best fun of all.
Squirrel and muntjac are hard to resist,
Dashing off through the woods, silent and swift.
Then, with a tail full of twigs and a coat full of burrs
He returns happy and panting, yet undeterred.
In Cornish coves, but once year,
His sandy paws a souvenir
Of endless beaches and summer days
Spent chasing gulls and jumping waves.
A sensitive boy who hates trouble and strife –
The peacekeeper in our family life.
He runs over, tail wagging, if voices are raised,
The perfect incentive to mend our ways.
When the biscuit tin opens, he’s straight through the door.
Though polite and persistent, we try to ignore
The quick poke of his nose and meaningful stare
That says, “Surely that food is meant to be shared”
He loves to join in the conversation
With an array of amusing vocalisations.
A printmakers dog, in the studio he’ll snooze,
Unaware that he’s an artist’s muse.
When it’s time to unwind at the end of the day,
He kneads his paws on the sofa in a certain way,
& while holding his “Mousey” (well loved and smelly),
He’ll nod off to dreamland, while we watch the telly.”
And here it is in the final pen & ink illustration:
To commission your own Hounds in Verse dog portrait or to find out more about the process visit The Enlightened Hound’s website.