I am oh so sad to report that, in the end, we were not able to keep Alex with us. Once he settled in and became comfortable in our home, it became apparent that he had a rather dominant German Shepherd personality. He remained submissive to people and was as smart as I could hope for, but very quickly he decided that we and our household were his responsibility. Even at only 4.5 months, he felt he had to seriously defend me from other barking dogs and noises around the house. I got into contact with a wonderful woman who runs a GSD rescue in Indianapolis and she was able to find him a more suitable home right before Christmas. This family has had extensive experience with working GSDs and will be able to assure he develops into a very responsible member of society. I am sad for me, but glad for him. I know that we took good care of him for the five weeks he was here, but in the end, he was just too much dog for me and I really wanted him to be able to reach his full potential.
The night before Alex left, I took a dozen pictures of him and picked out one to paint. The first photo shows a bit of my methodology for the portraits. While I don’t grid for the home portraits, I do for the animal ones. I find it gives me just that edge to lay out the eyes and mouth correctly. I have a piece of gridded acetate I place over the 4×6 photo and away I go. After the pencil up and most of the inking is done with the nib pen, I erase all of the grid and miscellaneous pencil lines. (Another reason why I like the sturdiness of the watercolor board.) I let it sit for a day and then add the watercolors with what I hope is a fluid and loose brushstroke. After another day of reflection I may add a bit more watercolor, but voila, normally it is done. He is a handsome fellow, is he not?