Sweet Alex

Pen/pencil drawing

Pen/pencil drawing

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?

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lesliepaints
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 14:34:45

    I’m sorry to hear he was not a match but glad to know he has a good home. The portrait is excellent!!! Love it, Ruth!


  2. ruthsartwork
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 15:57:27

    Thanks, Leslie. It was not an easy decision to make, but I feel that it was the best decision for all of us. We ended up being his transition home to the place where he would be happiest. He was a special guy and needed more than than I knew how to give.


  3. Cindy D.
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 20:58:58

    Terrific watercolor! I am sorry to hear about the dog, but also happy he has a good home. Perhaps another fellow with just as winning a personality is waiting at a shelter nearby. 😉


  4. ruthsartwork
    Dec 29, 2013 @ 21:35:15

    I am having “dog thoughts” since he left. It has really made me think about what I want in a pet.


  5. foresterartist
    Dec 30, 2013 @ 22:42:01

    So sorry he didn’t work out Ruth. The watercolor is beautiful.


    • ruthsartwork
      Dec 31, 2013 @ 09:26:35

      Thanks, Tim. I’m sorry too. But I felt he needed different handling than I had ever had to give for a dog before. I certainly didn’t want to have his basically cheerful nature overcome with my hesitance at his dominant personality. He is now in a very good place, with people who can channel his energy and spirit properly and he will be very happy. My search for our dog will have to go on for a bit.


  6. DixCutler
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 12:03:56

    Glad you found him a good home, Ruth. You made a wise choice – dogs and families have to be a good fit.


    • ruthsartwork
      Jan 02, 2014 @ 15:06:57

      I will miss him for sure. But I saw some videos of him successfully playing with some adult GSDs while he was waiting adoption. He was not in the least bit intimidated by meeting them and staying in their home after only one day. It confirmed his dominant tendencies in my mind and it made me sure that I had done the right thing. He was a good dog, just a typical GS and would have been way too much dog for me in the end. Now he has a great chance to reach his potential.


  7. lindahalcombfineart
    Jan 07, 2014 @ 07:38:30

    Ruth, He is a beautiful dog. My daughter just adopted a 4.5 month old GS named King and it took my breath away when I saw your post. King is almost entirely black so it couldn’t be Alex. King is incredibly sweet right now. Beautiful work.


    • ruthsartwork
      Jan 07, 2014 @ 08:36:56

      Alex was basically black with cream/tan points. The rescue person thought he was a long-haired GSD. He went to a family in Lafayette who will be great owners.


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