Post genesis I wanted a white dog. Well here she is above, the beautiful, wonder dog, Lily.
Yearnings for a white dog were borne from my early addiction to watching television, specifically foreign import programmes such as the hauntingly scored ‘Belle and Sebastian’, France, 1965 and the visually beautiful ‘White Horses’, Hanns Wiedmann, 1965, Germany/Yugoslavia. Tintin’s Snowy was a particular inspiration.
Aged two being given my beloved Dirk as a birthday present, a Labrador puppy named after one of my mother’s favourite film stars surname Bogart, presented me with a problem, Dirk was black. But circumstances did not deter and I seized the chance to create my first white dog in a ‘Frankenstein-ial’ effort several months after my birthday. The beautiful, black puppy and I were in the kitchen of the family homestead in Scotland with my father who was glossing the doors – white. The doorbell rang and my father clearly not blessed with powers of the second sight left us unattended with a huge tin of gloss paint and a paintbrush.
I distinctly remember Dirk allowing me to paint him while he lay in his wicker basket, he was the most gentle of dogs. Thoughts of those white dogs I loved Belle and Snowy, sailed through my mind like white furry clouds at each stroke of my goal. I remember chirping to Dirk as painting commenced although I have no idea what words of reassurance passed between us to put him at ease. Having managed to get a good way through blanching Dirk before the conversation at the front door ended, my father finally discovered the white metamorphoses that had been created in his absence. Tears of horror dissolved into the dismay of ‘what am I going to do?’! What he did – he took turpentine and covered Dirk in it. Naturally the turpentine inflicted some pain.
Dirk took control of the situation, ran into the garden and rolled in the earth. This stripped the paint from his coat and soothed the irritation of turpentine on his skin. It took a full year of supplementing his diet with olive oil to rejuvenate his black coat and till the day he died, traces of white paint remained on his basket. I miss him.
Dirk exacted his revenge for the turpentine bath several weeks later when he frenziedly tried to dig through the kitchen wall removing all the newly pasted orange wallpaper in a ‘left on my own protest’.
Several things were cultivated in those first couple of years, my deep love for animals with their consummate loyalty, honest instinct and heart wrenching innocence and my love of films and musings of travel, all entities that I use today in my work.
N.B. My husband didn’t deliberately choose Lily as a birthday gift for me (old habits die hard) because she was white. On the contrary she was born with a dark grey mask but Northern Inuit masks can fade and rather like a cygnet to a swan Lily’s grey mask faded and disappeared to leave her face almost white apart from the palest gold ears that reveal themselves in the winter.
Crafted by master photographer and printmaker http://mrjacklowe.com/ – luxurious Archival Pigment Prints of ‘Sweet’ are available to buy from my online shop.:
Limited Edition china plates will be available soon.