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manchester terrier mix

The story behind the sketch:

This sketch is in honor of “Keena”, a canine who knew how to indulge.

My friend Anne, (whose Dad owned the dog) told me that every morning Keena would start her day by drinking black coffee. One of her favorite pastimes was to go out in the yard & scavenge for cigarette butts, out of which she sucked the nicotine. This dog also had a taste for whiskey. One time , when Dad was visiting, Anne’s hubby left a full shot glass on the patio, & came back to find Keena lapping up the last drop. ( The poor dog passed out shortly afterward, & Dad took her upstairs & laid her in his suitcase to sleep it off.)

Despite all her bad habits, Keena lived  to the ripe old age of 19.

While I would never encourage anyone to share his less-than-healthy habits with his pets, this story was just too ironic & quirky not to share .

my experience in doing this sketch:

While I was working on this, it suddenly occurred to me that I had a manchester terrier-beagle mix when I was a kid. I remembered how I used to study the way his fur flowed around his face, & be fascinated by his little tan “eyebrows”. Suddenly, I was 10  again, with my dog  and talking to a favorite teacher. For a few moments, the layers of darkness in my mind,( the residue of adult stresses and responsibilities), melted; I felt “light and airy” , in the innocence of childhood.

I don’t know much about art therapy, but it seems like there might be potential here for healing through evoking earlier mental states.

The technical stuff:

This sketch appears darker than the real thing. Having said that, I used mainly 2B and 7B graphite pencils, on Strathmore Drawing  tablet paper. Couldn’t have gotten along without a kneaded eraser on this one; it was very useful for lifting out highlights after filling an area with solid color. The paper stump came in handy too, for smooth areas like the inner ear.  A very sharp pencil helped get the darkest darks, such as the pupil in the eye.


NOTE: All images and text in this post are Copyright K. A. Renninger 2011. I am more than happy to have you share them through your own blog, and hope you will do so—but you must give me credit. Anyone who uses them to make money will be prosecuted.