Thursday, December 31, 2009


It's been a Sidney Carton type of year . . . "the best of times and the worst of times". Here at Sheltie Hollow, we had some serious challenges to deal with and some just plain irritating or nasty stuff to handle. But somehow, everything turned out all right, sometimes wonderfully right, so we end the year full of gratitude and with hope for a bright New Year.
Biff and Jo-Jo are having a wonderful time celebrating. They have noise makers, silly hats, snacks and some vintage ginger ale, and they want to share their wishes to all of you for a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Wanna Be a Reindeer

It's nearly Christmas, and I will finish off my Christmas Cards with my newest one - I Wanna Be A Reindeer! Our littlest Sheltie has big dreams, just like our Eskie cross. In his own words -er- woofs,
"I wanna be a reindeer,
Wanna pull Santa's sleigh.
I want to fly with Santa,
Have a Happy Christmas Day!"

This little 5 x 7 painting is a watercolour and is just plain fun.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Eskie Christmas

You've got to hand it to those little American Eskimo dogs - they love to have a job to do, and they dream big! It seemed natural to imagine them pulling Santa's sleigh - with a little bit of help from Fairy Dust. Maybe this year you will hear the jingle of sleligh bells and the sound of soft, excited woofs on your roof.
Our Eskie/Sheltie cross was the model for every one of Santa's Eskies. Ho Ho HO!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


One of the things I love most about the country are the barns, and near Christmas, many farmers place huge stars on the sides of their barns that sparkle and glow through the cold, dark, northern night. Sometimes, I wonder what the animals must think of these winter beacons. The horses in today's painting are a gentle pair that I photographed many years ago, and I have painted them more than once. I really fell in love with these sweet natured giants.
STAR OF WONDER is an 11 x 14 coloured pencil over watercolour painting.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Visions of SugarMice

About now, most children (and some adults) are going to sleep to dream about presents under the tree and sugar-plums in their stockings. (Does anyone know what a "sugar-plum actually is?) Cats, being super intelligent little creatures, are no exception. I caught our cat happily snoozing near the fireplace, where his stocking is hanging with care, and dreaming of SugarMice. This 11 x 14 watercolour hangs in our house every Christmas season, but small prints are available.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Great Thank You

There is a legend that says that on one night close to Christmas, the animals gather in groups and bend down under the night sky to give thanks for their lives and for all the things that sustain them. It's called The Great Thank You. A couple of years ago, I did this tiny painting as my Christmas Card. Naturally, I chose a horse for this painting, instead of a wild animal. It is a 4 x 6 watercolour sketch and I bring it out at Christmas to remind me to say "thank you" for all the life-gifts I have been given, and that even the creatures of the field and forest understand that we need to give thanks.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Biff and Jo-Jo Santa's Grotto

It's the time of year when most people are feeling a sense of peace and good-will towards their fellow man. Biff and Jo-Jo feel the same way, and like to do their bit to put a smile on little faces. They have set up a Santa's Grotto so that the tinies can come and ask Santa for what they really want to find under the Christmas tree. (Biff will secretly relate this to Mom and Dad.) Biff is well suited to playing Santa - no padding needed, while Jo-Jo makes a perfect Elf. Biff's big white beard itches, and Jo-Jo keeps tripping on his toes, but they are having the time of their lives. That often happens when you are doing something nice for someone else.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Carolers Sing Joy

I know, this should be Dog Parade Wednesday, but there is a big storm raging today and there are no dogs walking past Sheltie Hollow. In fact, during the winter, not many dogs walk past at all. It gets dark so early that most of them stay in their own gardens to play, so I will be giving the Dog Parade Wednesdays a rest for a while. There will be lots of other good stuff to see and read though, so please keep stopping by.
Today, I thought it would be fun to start posting a number of my Christmas paintings and card designs from years past, as well as one or two new ones for this year. Between now and the first official day of winter, December 21, I will have several Christmas Card posts.
This one was inspired by two of our Shelties who were having a howling good time. They looked like two little Christmas Carolers, and this is the time to sing out joyfully, all the wonderful old Carols. JOY TO THE WORLD!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fresh Snow

Finally, we have snow. At the moment, there is just enough to dust the ground, like the snowfall we had last week, but this time, we are told that it will stay. This week is supposed to bring a proper drop, so it will really look like Christmas.
This is a little watercolour sketch I did called FRESH SNOW. I really like it so it may end up as a full size painting one of these days. I wanted to get the idea down before it drifted out of my mind. Can't you just imagine the cold, crisp air, and a glorious Friesian thundering across a snowy field, sending the Cardinals, (or Red Birds, as I like to call them) flying out of the bushes? This is a Winter scene I could look at all year long.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

PROCESS 3 - Mediums - Watercolour

My very favourite art medium is Watercolour. I love the flow, the brightness of the colours, and the challenge. Watercolour has a way of doing what it wants, just at the wrong moment, and part of the challenge with this exciting, exacting medium is knowing how to coax it back to doing what you had intended. Sometimes, you have to insist, and sometimes, you just start over. Watercolour can be etherial, moody, or bold, and I have chosen an older painting of mine to show that a rich depth of colour can be achieved.
With this medium, perhaps more than any other, the quality of your tools is of paramount importance. For the best results, you must use the best. That best will differ, depending on what you want to achieve. For example, for loose watercolours, a Cold Press (textured) or a Rough paper is often found to give the best results, and for detailed work, although a Cold Press will work, Hot Press (very smooth) is what I like best. The paper (heavy enough to be called a board) comes in several weights or thicknesses, and that can affect the outcome of your painting too. Paper or Board is actually a misnomer, as the best "papers" are made of 100% acid-free cotton or linen rag . Various companies produce papers that have slightly different textures and behave in different ways, and it is up to the artist to discover what works best for them. My favourite is Arches 140 or 300 pound Hot Press, but I usually have some Lanaquarelle and some Fabriano Artistico (both Hot Press) on hand too.
My brushes of choice range from the king of brushes, the Winsor & Newton Series 7 Number 7 kolinsky sable brush, to some 000 fine point acrylic brushes for the smallest details. If I could only have one brush, it would be the Series 7 Number 7, it is so versatile and reliable. I've had mine for 30 years and it is still great.
The paints I use are mostly Winsor & Newton Artist's professional quality tube paints, because they are of the very best quality, with a wide range of reliable, brilliant colours. I also use some Daniel Smith and some Holbien, all top quality and reliable.
I start a watercolour painting the same way I begin any other painting - with a pencil drawing that has been thoroughly worked out on newsprint before my pencil touches the watercolour board. The image is intially hand drawn, then transferred to the board using a very light touch, as the pencil lines should not show through the finished painting. Once the graphite gets wet, it is on the paper forever, so it is important that the drawing be barely visible at the time I start to paint. Then I lay in washes, wait for them to dry, and lay in more. With watercolour, I have to work from light to dark, because many of the colours are translucent. The details come last. A watercolour takes a long time to acomplish - there really are no shortcuts, and while it is forgiving of mistakes, they had better be small ones.
I hope this little series on my Process has given you a glimpse of how I do my paintings. If anyone has any questions, please email me and I will try to answer them for you.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


We live in an area where there are some sheep farms as well as cattle farms, and we often see Border Collies. There are also some in the village who work at being pet for a living, and they are always a treat to see trotting past the Sheltie Hollow window.
These beautiful dogs are super intelligent, intense, focused, and need a job, even if that job does not involve sheep. They come in two coat types - short haired with some feathering on the legs, or medium long and often wavy. Although usually black and white, there are a variety of possible colours as well as some solid coloured dogs. Border Collies are high energy dogs, as in HIGH ENEREGY, and need safe exercise as well as either a job or a canine activity such as Agility, Flyball, etc. to focus on.
This coloured pencil drawing is available as a 5 x 7 matted print for $25. shipping included. You can reach me at:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


There are several beautiful Golden Retrievers who walk past Sheltie Hollow. How could you not love this dog? His blond good looks are matched by a golden personality. He is gentle, reliable, friendly, intelligent, and obedient. It must be remembered though, that he is a powerful dog who still has a retrieving instinct, and while he needs lots of exercise, he needs to be in a fenced area for his own protection.
This little coloured pencil drawing is available as a 5 x 7 matted print for $25. shipping included.

Monday, November 23, 2009

PROCESS 2 - Medium -Coloured Pencil & Graphite

Today I want to tell you about some of the Mediums I use. When I do Portraits, I start with a watercolour wash on either Stonehenge paper or Arches hot press 140 lb. paper and then work over it in Coloured Pencil. The paper is top quality and acid free, and I love the smooth, but not plate finish of both papers because I am a detail person.
I start with the initial drawing on newsprint, (not traced or projected), transfer it to my good paper, and then do a very light watercolour wash to establish the colour pattern and to lay a bit of a grip on the paper. You can see in this image of a commission I did last year where the watercolour is, and that over it, I have started layering the Coloured Pencil. This is a long process, and there is no hurrying it. I was far from finished any part of the portrait when I took this photo. The green you see is the low tack masking tape I use to mask off my painting area because I have a personal preference for a neat, clean, white border around my paintings, even though it will be covered by a mat. Naturally, it comes off as soon as the outline area of the piece is done.
For the most part, I use Prismcolor Pencils because of their quality, availability, and colour range. Added to them, are selected colours from Derwent and Faber Castell. All these brands are professional quality. Coloured pencil is a relatively new Fine Art medium, so there are still things we need to learn about some of the colours, but by using the best quality and the most lightfast colours, I have confidence that these portraits will long outlive the people who commissioned them.
I enjoy using Graphite too, and I have always used Faber Castell Graphite pencils in a range from 8B (very soft and dark) to 5H (very hard and light). It is of paramount importance to use graphite pencils from the same brand because each brand uses a different scale to measure light through dark. When using Graphite, I use Stonehenge paper, as already mentioned, an acid free paper which means it will stand the test of time.
Next time, I will talk about watercolours.

Friday, November 20, 2009

PROCESS - Drawing

I've been following a very interesting discussion about how artist's produce their art, and I thought I would like to tell you something about my process. Because I am an Animal Artist and a Realist - although not a Photo Realist, and because I don't want a plethora of strange dogs, cats, and horses (even if there was room!) in my studio, I work from photographs. I'm a slow painter, and I like the solitude and peace of my studio, so that is another factor in why I choose to work from photo references. Most of the photos I use are taken by myself, but some are generously given to me by a friend or they are provided by a portrait client.
When I am doing a portrait, I need to get the most accurate image possible. However, I don't trace or project, even with a portrait. I learned how to draw at Art School (I chose Fine Art rather than Graphic Art), where we would have been tossed out of class if we had tried to trace or project. If anyone had suggested painting over a photo, I think our Drawing, Life Drawing, and Painting teachers would have fainted. We were there to learn the traditional ways of drawing and painting and I am proud to be using those methods of observation, sketching, measuring, and grid. These things are hard to use - photos lie, (distortion) and measuring or grid can so easily get out of control. The width of a pencil lead can make a difference! And you have to know when to ignore the measurements because your experienced eye is telling you that something is wrong. The best tool an Animal Artist can have is an excellent understanding of their subject - anatomy, hair coat, and expression - that and good observation skills, as well as an undertanding of proportion and perspective. After 20 plus years, I am still working on improving these things.
The photo above is of my acrylic painting "Something In The Air" along with the reference photos I used. As you can see, I don't adhere slavishly to the photo. Even with a portrait, I usually use a combination of several photos. The clipped English Setter photo was sent to me by a friend (her photo, her dog) and another friend sent me a photo (hers) of geese in flight. The landscape was taken by me. This was not a portrait, so I changed things to fit my vision for the scene I wanted to paint - changing the season and adding a full hair coat to the dog. I did some thumbnail sketches for placement, then did a detailed drawing on newsprint, where most of my agonizing over the drawing takes place. When I finally got what I wanted, I transfered my own drawing to my panel using tracing paper and then I was ready to paint.
This time consuming, intensive, nervewracking method obviously isn't for everyone, but it is the only way I want to work.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Today's dog is a Rhodesian Ridgeback. This strong, courageous, big dog was once used to protect the families and stock of Colonial African farmers from lion attacks. They still have courage and a deep sense of loyalty, which makes them both good guards dogs and gentle family dogs. The Ridgebacks are beautiful dogs, with their wheaten through red colouring and the tapering ridge of stiff hair that grows in the opposite direction along their shoulders and back.
I wanted this simple, watercolour sketch to reflect the spacious glow of the African plains (as I've seen it portrayed in films), and I think I've accomplished this with the red-gold dog and trees, the golden grasses, and the apricot sky. A 5 x 7 inch matted print can be yours for $25. including shipping by contacting me at

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Biff & Jo-Jo On Ice

Like so many Canadians, Biff and Jo-Jo have been glued to The Battle of the Blades these past few weeks. What a great thing for skating in this country! The hockey players were very brave to do something so far out of their comfort zone, and the ladies were just as brave, skating with partners who were new to the lifts and spins. Wonderful Stuff all round!!

And like many Canadians, Biff and Jo-Jo were inspired to get some skates and go skating.

There is ice to be found now if you get out early enough, (and are no bigger than a chipmunk) and these two have been enjoying a dawn skate. Unfortunately, being unused to figure skates and their picks, Biff has suddenly performed the "Cleaning the ice" figure, a manoever I can relate to, while Jo-Jo, in panic lest he be bowled off his skates, has discovered that he can do an impromptu Russian Jump. Skating is just the best fun!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


It's November 11, and I want to say THANK YOU to all those who serve and protect. THANK YOU to my Father, Grandfathers and Uncles, and to all who valiantly marched off to war, to those who came back and to those who didn't, and to all the men and women who had the courage to watch their loved ones go and who served by keeping the home fires burning. We will never forget.


Did you see that lean slice of speed that flashed past my window? The elegant, aristocratic Greyhound is the fastest of any dog, yet he makes a calm, clean, loving, and loyal pet.
Once the privilege of the nobility, now the Greyhound is available to those who can commit to giving him the education, love, and care he needs, and that includes daily exercise, like a good run in a safe environment so that he can stretch those long legs of his.
I painted "Greyhound Hill" some time ago, and it has always been one of my favourite watercolour images. The hounds just poised to run, the expanse of countryside, the fresh spring colours, all give me a sense of freedom and lightness of spirit. A 5 x 7 inch (image) matted print for $25. including shipping, can be yours by contacting me at

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'M INNOCENT! - Biff & Jo-Jo

Uh-oh, Biff, tempted beyond sense by a tasty peanut butter cracker, has wandered into a live Mousetrap and is in panic, shouting his innocence to one and all. A loyal friend will do all he can to help, and Jo-Jo has risen to the occasion by baking a cake with a file in it. In the end, it wasn't needed, as Biff - a law-bidding chipmunk if ever there was one, was released with an apology.

This summer, a family of mice moved in under our sunroom, and we were not very pleased about it. All members but one, were eventually rounded up and relocated. Our live trap remains out and ready to nab the last wily mouse, but unfortunately, it was one of our garden Chipmunks that was caught. We released him at once of course, and he raced away to celebrate his freedom.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Getting It Together

I hate surprises, unless they are really nice ones. This past week, I had a bit of a shock when I found out that the Christmas Show at the Gallery is not opening in three weeks, it is opening THIS weekend! I guess in the turmoil of the several small personal crises that have been going on lately, I just lost track of time. So this week, I have been scrambling to get it together - paintings framed (like Woolies Weather) , prints run off and matted, and the paperwork done. It is amazing what you can do when you have to.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


We're walking the dog late tonight. Our dog of the week is the neat looking Boston Terrier. These affable little guys are always formally dressed in shining black or splashy brindle and white, and with their lovely natures, and their ability to be at home in the city or country, they are an increasingly popular breed.
This 5 x 7 watercolour painting is available as a matted print for $25. and inquiries can be sent to:

Saturday, October 31, 2009


The day is here. Time to get out the black silk witch's hat that is so charmingly trimmed in black net and lavender roses, dust off the corn broom, and carve the pumpkins. Who knows, maybe this year I will see the mysterious "Ghost Horse" up on the hill. Have a BOOtiful Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween - SUSPICION

It's here . . . can you feel it? . . .that "something" in the air that tells you Halloween is nearly upon us? Do you sometimes feel like there is someone - or something, walking just behind you? And when you turn around, there is no one there. The air is nearly silent now, except for the cawing of a few crows and the moan of bare tree branches rubbing against one another in the wind. Leaves skitter down the street, scratching their passage on the pavement. And you know, you just know, that little spooks and ghosts and goblins are waiting to march to your door to demand (politely of course) treats on the big night.
The little Sheltie in the watercolour is very suspicious of the glowing Jack O' Lantern, and the pumpkin in turn, is very wary of the Sheltie. Which one will be the first to shout "BOO!"

"SUSPICION is 5 x 7 (image) watercolour, painted especially for this Halloween.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


The Australian Cattle Dog is a sturdy dog who is a steadfast companion - hard working, brave, alert, and protective. He is a mid-sized dog with a short, harsh coat of red or blue speckles, often with tan markings. This dog has great stamina and needs to have a job to do along with daily exercise to be happy.
Today's watercolour is available as a 4.5 x 6.5 (image) matted print for $25., shipping included. If you are interested in this print, please contact:

Monday, October 26, 2009

AUTUMN REDS - Irish Setter

Irish Setters are so beautiful with their elegant lines and mahogany coats. There were Irish setters in the family when I was growing up, and it was always fun to spend time with them. My aim in this painting was to recapture happy memories of a little girl and the big, red dog. I've used the greeny-gold light of an autumn afternoon, and it brings a warm sparkle to the memory as well as to the painting.
Autumn Reds is an 8 x 10 (image) watercolour, and is available matted for $350. This is also available as a small (5 x 7) print. To inquire, please contact

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Today, there were no dogs walking past the window. Everyone of them was napping while the Sheltie Hollow humans were unexpectedly busy. Please come back next week when the dogs will be walking again.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Have you ever wondered why you do the things you do? Taking stock, I asked myself why I have a compulsion to paint dogs, cats, and horses. I do dip into the world of Fantasy every so often, but always, always, I come back to dogs, cats, and horses.
I don’t want to change these animals in my paintings – to experiment or play with colour, shape or texture. It would be an artistically valid thing to do, and I admire the artists who do it, but it doesn’t satisfy the artist in me or the animal lover. I think animals are so beautiful just the way they are. I love the challenge of painting the different textures of their hair, from short and sleek, wavy or bristly, to long, luxurious and soft. Their colours enchant me, all those whites, creams, silvers, tans, golds, russets, chestnuts, sepias and blacks, and every shade and tint in between. I love all the shapes; the infinite variety of dog shapes, the soft and round, or long and lean of cats, and the pure poetry of horses. But it is their eyes that simply ensorcelle – Dark, liquid and trusting, emerald, sapphire or topaz bright, or soft, gentle and deep. I melt when I look into those eyes.
My love affair with animals has been going on all my life and will never end. I have to paint – I’ve no choice. It’s as necessary as breathing. And for the most part, all I want to paint are the animals I love. I paint these lovely creatures as carefully as I can to celebrate them, to share my love for them with the people who see my paintings, and to get into that special zone where, just for a little while, the delightful animal I’m painting belongs to me.
The Sheltie image above was done in Coloured Pencil, and is available as 4 x 6 Note Cards in packages of 6 for $8.00.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Today's dog is the beautiful, delicate looking Papillon. But don't let their elegant, porcelain-fine features fool you. I've seen these delightful little guys handle themselves well in Agility Trials, and they are alert, ready-to-sound-the-alarm watchdogs. The loving, loyal Papillon can be seen in paintings dating back 700 years, so they've had lots of practice being companions and lap dogs. They will enjoy a good walk or can be content running around in a garden or even in the house. Their long, silky coat requires regular brushing, but who wouldn't want to spend time daily, petting and brushing these little beauties.
The Papillon is white with patches of colour, especially on the head and ears. Named after the Butterfly that his fringed, upright ears ressemble, there is also a Papillon with drop ears, and this type is named Phalene, or Moth, as this is what the drop ears remind one of.
Today's image is a watercolour, and is avialable as a 4.5 x 6.5 matted print for $25. shipping included. This is a great gift for Papillon lovers or makes a nice treat for yourself.
If you are interested in today's print or in a portrait of you dog, please contact me at: anderson.animalart@

Monday, October 12, 2009


Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, and over this past weekend, people all across the country have been gathering for dinners with family and friends. These dinners require lots of cooking, which is fine by me, but alas, they also entail a certain amount of house cleaning. When I am pushed into cleaning house, my hands may be busy with dust cloth and broom, but my mind is far away, riding though the October fields with a loved four footed friend. How I would have loved to have a pony like the one in my watercolour painting, "Fine October Day", when I was a young girl!
We had our Thanksgiving Dinner yesterday, and were blessed to be able to share it with dear friends. The dinner itself turned out just fine, which is something of a miracle, given my tendency to drop into a dreamworld while I am doing something in the kitchen. It was the animals who provided a little "entertainment".
We had cooked and carved the turkey the night before, as last minute timing is just too nerve wracking for me, and although my husband and I have taken Fencing lessons, neither one of us can handle a knife well enough to carve a turkey in front of anyone. So there was the main event for dinner, nicely plated and covered on the counter while I turned away to wash my hands. Almost at once, the dogs set up a howl, and I turned around in time to see our cat slip out from under the clingwrap with a large piece of turkey hanging out of each side of his mouth and a "Don't mess with me - I'm serious!!" look on his face. He soared over the heads of the dogs and took off for one of his hide-outs to enjoy his ill gotten gains. Me? I didn't even think of stopping him - not with that look on his face! Besides, our guests were cat lovers. They wouldn't have begrudged him a bite of turkey, even if they had known.
Yesterday, our guests arrived, and all was going well until my husband stepped back and nipped a dog paw. Naturally, it was our dramatic fellow, and he howled and screamed blue murder, and while everyone's attention was on his barely grazed paw, he slid forward to grab a mini- quiche off a serving plate on the coffee table. Have I mentioned that we don't entertain very often?
This weekend is a time to give thanks, and I do. Thanks for my husband, pets, and home, for art, family, friends, and so much more, including a thank you to everyone who reads my ramblings of an animal artist's life of wonderful lunacy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The dog trotting past Sheltie Hollow today is the neat, amiable, Welsh Terrier. He always wears a coat of black and tan, or black grizzle and tan, and at an ideal height of about 15 inches, resembles a small Airedale. Once a hunting dog, these little guys have become great house dogs, and although still very active, (they need a place to work off some of this exuberance!) they are not scrappers and are intelligent and willing to please. To keep them looking their best, the Welsh Terrier will need dedicated grooming.
Today's image is a bright, fresh looking, watercolour wash, and is available as a 4.5 x 6.5 (image)matted print for $25. shipping included. This is a great gift for Welsh Terrier lovers, or treat yourself. If you are interested in today's print, or in commissioning a portrait of your dog, please contact me at:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


This is a portrait of a beautiful cat named CHARM. She was a delightful little thing, and touched everyone who met her. I placed her among Forget-me-nots because she loved to sit in among them, and because she will always remain in the hearts of the people who loved her.
When I am doing a portrait of a pet who has crossed Rainbow Bridge, I like to use a Spring background, if a background is required but not specified. To me, it gives a feeling of hope that we will see our loved ones again.
Charm was done in Coloured Pencil and is an 8 x 10 image. The portrait went home last night, to enthusiastic reviews.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Here at Sheltie Hollow, the Autumn colours are just beginning, and what better dog to see going past my window than the gorgeous IRISH SETTER. This dog is a shimmering red, either chestnut or a dark mahogany, and he is a striking image against the golden leaves - and everywhere else. The Irish Setter is a large, elegantly graceful dog who has a big sense of fun, and a loving nature.
Today's image is a watercolour sketch, less detailed than one of my larger paintings, but full of colour and the essence of the beautiful Irish Setter. It is offered as a 4.5 x 6.5 (image) matted print for $25. shipping included. This little treasure will make a wonderful gift for Irish Setter lovers, or treat yourself to a little present. If you are interested in today's print, please contact me at:

Friday, September 25, 2009


I've been keeping this portrait quiet for several months, but now I can show it. Rhys the Corgi was done earlier this year and was to be a surprise gift for an Autumn birthday, so I had to be patient about showing him.
I always find graphite to be an enjoyable challenge. Translating all the colour variations into black and white, and putting in the highlights, mid-tones, and shadows is time consuming, tricky work (at least, for me it is) and I was very pleased with the way Rhys turned out. Happily, so was my client!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The BULL TERRIER is a neat, clean looking dog who despite his rather fearsome past, is now a superb companion with a great sense of humour, loyalty, and gentleness towards his family. They are smart, energetic, complex dogs who demand attention, exercise, and intelligent handling. Many of these beautiful dogs are white, but you will also find coloured Bulls, especially brindle.
A number of years ago, my husband and I were having a picnic in a peaceful park, and a couple with a white Bull Terrier came to sit near us. I had never actually met a Bull Terrier at that point, and had an "uh-oh" moment as the dog shot away from his own table and ran towards us. I learned a lot that afternoon. The Bull Terrier popped his front paws up on the bench and shoved his bullet shaped head under my husband's arm, a gorgeous doggy grin on his white face. He was all friendliness, and very willing to share our lunch, until his master ran up with apologies to take his very charming dog back to their table. The lesson I learned was to never pre-judge a breed or an individual dog. You could miss out on a lovely encounter by doing so.

You may notice that today's image is a bit different. Although I have enjoyed doing the tiny paintings, I am beginning to feel a bit hemmed in by the size. I am a detail person, and need a little more space and time to do what I do best. From now on, my DOG PARADE WEDNESDAY paintings will be painted in a larger size - usually 5 x 7 inches, and offered as 5 x 7 inch matted prints for $25. Some of the originals will be available as well. These are still small enough to be considered a miniature gem, and make wonderful gifts- for yourself or for someone special. If you are interested in this week's dog print, please contact me at

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

DOG PARADE WEDNESDAY - Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Today's dog is real treat. It's not every day you see a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog around here. This one is a 3 month old pup, and when I met her, she displayed all the gentle affection of her breed. Nevertheless, this adorable pup will grow into a huge dog who will protect your home and family, pull a cart for you, or help rescue you in the snow, should the need arise. The Greater Swiss is the largest of the Swiss breeds, and looks very elegant in the black, white and tan that is so prevalent in the Swiss dogs.
These original little watercolour sketches are 3 x 4.5 and come with a 5 x 7 mat. Including shipping, they are only $40. If you are interested in this painting, or if there is a breed you would like to see featured in DOG PARADE WEDNESDAY, please contact me at:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good Dreams Ducks

This summer brought some interesting commissions, and I had great fun with these slightly unusual duck decoys. They were hand carved and then fitted with music boxes, with the intention of giving them as baby gifts. The owner of the ducks wanted them painted in a fanciful fashion that would suit a baby's room, and he asked me if I was interested in doing it. I had fun painting these two in acrylic so that they looked like friendly ducks, but without getting into traditional "baby colours". I decided to call them the GOOD DREAMS DUCKS. They have been a hit with everyone who has seen them, so I hope Baby likes them too!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Look at that little white fluff-ball walking past. (Sometimes, you may even see her stroll along on her back legs!) This is the incomparable American Eskimo!! The Eskie is a member of the Spitz family who date back to prehistoric times in Northern Europe. Initially, they were used to herd Reindeer, help on the hunt, and guard the home. They are always white, or white with cream, and they come in three handy sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy. The Eskie came to North America with German immigrants and soon became the Circus Dogs who dazzled with their brilliant tricks. It was in 1917 that the name American Eskimo was adopted for these little German Spitz dogs. They are loyal, eager to please, and with their love of learning tricks, they are fun to be with. Depsite their fluffy appearance, they still have an instinct to guard you and your home. Gentle, respectful, consistant training will bring out the best in an Eskie. They are a sensitive little dog.
No matter what size you choose, your Eskie will be charming, loving, beautiful, athletic, intelligent, and amazingly clever about getting her/his own way.
Do I sound ultra enthusiastic about this breed? I guess it's because one of our Shelties is half Eskie, and she is wonderfully unique, sometimes frustrating, and totally adorable.

These little Dog Parade paintings are quick, original watercolour sketches measuring 3 x 4.5 inches and come matted with a 5 x 7 mat. Double or triple matting can be used to present this small painting as an important miniature treasure. Each one is $40. including shipping. If you are interested in this painting, or if there is a breed you would like to see presented here, please contact me at:

Monday, September 7, 2009

CORN DOG Yellow Labrador

In the Fall, I often see a Yellow Labrador contentedly patrolling a corn field near here. He blends into the scene so well - the gold shaded yellow dog with his handsome dark brown points around eyes, nose, and mouth, against the dark earth and yellow/gold corn stalks and stubble.
Crows are ever present at this time of year, but the dog minds his own business if the crows are willing to do the same.
I enjoy these friendly big dogs who always seem ready for a cuddle. Big, solid, and reliable, the Labrador Retriever is just an all round great dog.
CORN DOG is an 8 x 10 watercolour on Arches Hot Press paper.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


The Flat-Coated Retriever is a tall, dark, elegant dog. Originating in England this handsome fellow is welcome everywhere because of his friendly, affectionate nature. He makes a fine family pet, and still excels at the field work for which he was bred. Field Trials are a joy to him, as he just loves to retrieve.
I have had the pleasure of knowing several of these beautiful dogs, and some time ago, I was delighted to have one of my full sized Flat-Coat paintings used as the cover art for FLAT-OUT, the Canadian Flat-Coated Retriever newsletter/magazine.

These little DOG PARADE paintings are quick, original, watercolour sketches measuring 3 x 4.5 inches, and they come matted in a 5 x 7 mat. Double or triple matting may be used to present this little painting as an important, miniature treasure. Each one is $40. including shipping. If you are interested in this painting, please contact me at:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Biff & Jo-Jo - Fun In The Rain

It rained all day today - a steady, serious rain. Biff is tired of the rain, but Jo-Jo can still find fun in it. When it rains, you can go shopping, go to a museum, have friends over, go to a movie, read, or go out and sing, dance, leap, and have a great time the way Jo-Jo is doing with the help of a Dogwood stem that helps him fly through the raindrops. Jo-Jo knows that when you can be cheerful in the rain, it becomes something you can enjoy . . . and . . . that drives your grumpy friends crazy, which is half the fun!

You may notice that there is never a price tag on a Biff & Jo-Jo cartoon. This is because they are little ideas that pop into my head that make me smile or laugh, and I want to share them with you as a thank you for following my blog. Never keep a good smile or laugh to yourself!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Today's dog is the DALMATIAN, a clean, elegant looking dog who simply exudes athleticism. For years, the Dalmatian was known as the Carriage dog, the dog who was paired with horses the way peanut butter is paired with jelly. Today, he still makes a fine companion on a ride, but he is just as comfortable in the home, where his good nature and good manners are welcome. The Damatian will curl up on the couch with you as easily as he guards your home. Whether he is white with liver spots or the better know white with black spots, polka-dots are always in style.
These little DOG PARADE paintings are quick, original watercolour sketches measuring 3 x 4.5 inches, and they come matted in a 5 x 7 inch mat. They can be double or triple matted to larger frame size, presenting the tiny paintings like an important miniature treasure. Each one is $40. including shipping. If you are interested in this painting, please contact me at:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The Siberian Husky is a gentle, beautiful, and affectionate dog. Friendly and loyal, these dogs make great family companions, but don't look to them to guard your house. They tend to greet people with a lovely doggy smile and a wagging plumed tail. Coming originally from North East Siberia, they enjoy the cold weather, and will happily follow the family on cross country ski jaunts.
This fellow is taking a moment to lie under the stars, maybe dreaming of the frosty nights to come. But please don't leave him out too long - he appreciates his warm bed too.

These little DOG PARADE paintings are quick, original, watercolour sketches, measuring 3 x 4.5 inches. They come matted in a 5 x 7 inch mat, but can be double or triple matted up to a larger frame size, presenting the tiny painting like an important miniature treasure. Each one is $40. including shipping. If you are interested in purchasing this painting, please contact me:

Monday, August 17, 2009


Today’s blog is a bit different. I’m not talking about paintings, animals, or presenting a cartoon. Today I want to post about affirming one’s artistic self in the face of adversity, sometimes large, as in a major rejection, and sometimes supposedly small, as in an unkind comment.
It’s a sad fact that sometimes there are nasty things in the “artmosphere”. Every so often, something dark and unkind blows in and knocks one right off their feet. Sometimes, it hits so hard that an artist can’t survive, and drops out of sight. What a waste of talent, and what a vicious thing to do – to silence a creative voice. And the worst part is, that sometimes, the verbal aggressor is a fellow artist! I will never understand why some artists continue to slap down their fellows instead of extending that hand to help each other.
Most of us are still able to rebound from the rejection, the slight, or the nasty comment, and we can do so because we have found some way to Affirm to ourselves that we are indeed artists and our work has merit. Sometimes there is a major moment of enlightenment, but more often, it is something small and insignificant that whispers to us, and gets us on our artistic feet again.
One of those little acidic splotches of mean-spiritedness flamed out of the blue at me a while ago. (the juicy details will remain private.) The little zinger hit so hard, so unexpectedly, that I found myself immobilized by the shock and the hurt. For days, I couldn’t paint, could barely even face going into the studio to use the computer. I began to seriously consider getting rid of my art materials and giving up. Who needs to be steeped in an atmosphere of petty unkindness? I do other creative and lucrative things – I write, sew, garden, play the guitar (badly) and I’m building and outfitting a Miniature House. Did I really need to keep painting?
For days, I couldn’t nudge myself into painting, then I was reminded that I had made a commitment to a Gallery, that they were waiting for some paintings, and I needed frames for them, so I dragged myself into the art shop. The joyous rush of anticipation was missing when I walked in the door. I walked past the paints, the brushes and papers without so much as a glance. Then the brakes slammed on. There was this lovely art table blocking the aisle . I had been needing a new table for ages. Oh, I reminded myself, I’m not painting anymore. I don’t need the table. But it was just what I had wanted, the price was wonderful, and I couldn’t seem to make myself move away from it. I craved that table!
When I eventually walked out of the shop, I had three mats, three frames, and a beautiful new art table. I went home, my husband and I it set up, and then I decided that the old plastic taboret I had been using for years just was not going to go with the new table, so I got a new cabinet for my paint. The studio was looking great, I was beginning to get the itch to pick up a brush again, and almost at once, a new commission came in. I was painting again.
This time, there was no sudden enlightenment to make me realize that no matter what hurtful thing someone says, I am an artist. I belong. This time, all it took was table lust to jolt me out of my funk and get me back to believing in myself again, and to remembering that no one can make me feel badly about myself or my work if I don’t let them. I believe that there is an affirmation there for all of us when we need it, but it may not come in a conventional way. We just have to keep our eyes, ears, and minds open. And to the people who enjoy putting the thumb screws to fellow artists . .. it is not kind behaviour, nor is it classy, . . . so stop it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The WESTIE, or WEST HIGHLAND WHITE TERRIER, hails from Scotland and is a fearless, nearly tireless little chap who has a joyous sense of fun. He is a devoted watchdog, a loving family dog, and an all round loyal companion. These good natured little terriers are as home in the city as they are in the country. Although they are willing to be trained, a prospecitve owner must remember that Terriers were bred to dig, and the Westie is no exception.

I'm having such fun doing these little sketches. Each one takes about an hour, and I am getting ideas from them for full sized, detailed paintings.
WESTIE is an Original Miniature Watercolour, measuring just 3 x 4.5 inches and comes with a white, 5 x 7 mat. This charming little painting is just $40. shipping included. If you are interested in purchasing this painting, please contact me:

Baronessa Grace Vom Alpenhof

I've always loved German Shepherd Dogs. They have such kind eyes, full of wisdom and fun, and you just know that you can trust them to the ends of the earth. These dogs need intelligent handling to bring out the best in them, but it is well worth the extra patience involved, because a good GSD is simply one of the best dogs around.
This is Baronessa Grace Vom Alpenhof, a young GSD I was privileged to paint recently. She is from the direct bloodline of the famous Vom Kirschental kennels in Germany, is a formidable guard dog, and gave me kisses the second time I met her. This 14 x 18 portrait was done in Acrylic, a medium I am becoming increasingly comfortable with, and is now hanging proudly in Grace's Mum's foyer.

Heather Anderson

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Did you see the slim-as-a-crack-in-the-atmosphere dog that just whizzed past the window? This is the elegant SALUKI, an ancient hound that has its roots in the Arabian desert, and was already an ancient breed when the Pharaohs ruled Egypt.
Traditionally, these beautiful dogs were hunting hounds, but today, they are loved companions. Salukis are intelligent, loyal, and affectionate with their families, but tend to be aloof and dignified with others. These delightful Hounds still retain a shadow of their hunting instincts, so they should never be allowed to roam unattended.
But then, it is basic safety and courtesy to keep an eye your dog of any breed when they are outside.
Today's Original Miniature Watercolour is 3 x 4.5 inches, and comes matted with a white 5 x 7 mat. This classy little painting is just $40. shipping included, and anyone interested can contact me at: anderson.animalart@

Monday, August 3, 2009

Fun at the Agility Nationals

This past weekend my husband and I joined friends at the Canadian Agility Nationals in Ottawa. It was a big event, with some 600 dogs competing. What a treat to have this in Ottawa, just a short 45 minute drive away from Sheltie Hollow. It was held at the National Capitol Equestrian Park where we have attended some big horse shows, seen the famous Show Jumping duos, and where, in the past, we were often a Vendor. Standing in what is usually the large Jumping Ring, I glanced up at the steep hill the riders and horses navigate in the major shows, and I was awed at the skill and bravery they have, to face such an obstacle.
This past weekend the large ring was filled with smaller rings where dogs were doing various courses and classes, and the dogs were no less courageous facing those courses than the horses are in facing the huge jumps they deal with.
My friend and I declared a "Girly Day", left our husbands comfortably in a shady spot where they could see everything and have easy access to the food concessions, and off we went to explore. We were lucky enough to have passes that allowed us to carefully and respectfully wander in among the dogs who were waiting to compete or resting after their runs, and to stand at ringside to take photos of dogs taking the jumps at break-neck speed and zipping through tunnels. What amazing athletes they are!
Every dog I saw was focused and eager when it was their turn to run the course, and before and after, they lounged in shaded tents with their people, obviously relaxed and having fun. It was enormously exciting to see breeds that I haven't seen before (except in photographs) like the Lakeland Terrier, the Shiba Inu, and the Kelpie, as well as the Italian Greyhound, a breed that I haven't seen for years. It was great too, to see mixed breeds competing, and dogs of all shapes and sizes. 600 dogs - I was in Heaven!
While I haven't had time yet to do a painting/drawing from the photos I took on the weekend, I have included an image of my Graphite Drawing "NEXT!" There are always lots of Border Collies and Shelties at these events, barking, running, and having a wonderful time.
It was great hanging out with a best friend, doing a bit of Doggy Shopping at the vendor tents, and when the four of us were thoroughly tired, retiring to a cool coffee shop to quietly visit and talk over the day.
You'll notice that I haven't mentioned our dogs. They enjoy the jumps and tunnel in the garden, and two of them are perfectly capable of doing Agilty at some level, but I am the liability there. I could never remember the course route, (don't even ask about when I tried my hand (feet) at dancing!) and I could never keep up with a Sheltie. The cat is laughing hysterically at the thought!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dog Parade Wednesday The PUG

The adaptable, good tempered PUG is a favourite of nearly every dog lover. The Pug is a member of the TOY GROUP, but he never sees himself as a tiny dog. Their charming faces and confident stance have won fans, inspired artists, and gained the favour of Royalty for centuries. Pugs are highly intelligent, companionable little dogs, and they excel as pets. The sturdy Pug is a very old breed whose origins are somewhat hidden in the mists of time. While always popular, it reached a zenith of popularity during the Victorian age, and its image appeared in paintings, as decorative ornaments, and even on housewares. Today, it is still popular, fitting as easily into an apartment as it does into a country house.
Wherever he lives, the Pug quickly becomes a loved and loving family member.

Today's painting is an Original Miniature Watercolour, measuring just 3 x 4.5 inches, and it comes with a 5 x 7 inch mat. This delightful little Pug painting is only $40. shipping included, and anyone interested in it can contact me at:

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Universal Question

I thought it was time to look in on Biff and Jo-Jo again. The lucky little guys have found some nice sunny weather and have gone to the sea shore for a little break. They are healthy, happy young chipmunks , but they don't always have the best dress sense. Togged out in their new bathing suits, Biff asks the question that everyone who has ever worn a bathing suit must have asked (I know I have!) . . ."Does this make my butt look big?"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dog Parade Wednesday - Shetland Sheepdog

Sheltie Hollow is on a wide, gentle corner, and every evening, the village dogs go past our window on their walks. There are a great many breeds and mixed breed dogs in our village, and it is like watching a wonderful Dog Parade. I've decided that each Wednesday, I will celebrate the beautiful dogs we see here, as well as the ones we don't see in the village.

Today I'd like to start the Parade with The Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie, as they are affectionately known. This charming little dog hails from the Shetland Islands of Scotland where a dog had to be tough and smart to survive. The Sheltie is loyal, very smart and affectionate, and with its biddable nature, it fits in just about anywhere. Shelties need gentle education, regular grooming, supervised exercise (they may be tempted to chase cars!) and a great deal of love and attention. They need to be kept busy, as they can become quite vocal if they are bored.
Today's painting is an Original Miniature Watercolour, measuring just 3 x 4.5 inches, and comes matted in a 5 x 7 white mat. This charming little painting is only $40. shipping included, and anyone interested in purching it can contact me at