Painting Pippy Ruff by Jessica McColl - GIVEAWAY!

Growing up I always loved painting, drawing and building things. As an only child, my only company was often my menagerie of pets and my art materials.

I had my first art show at five years old, in the front room of my grandparent’s house. I invited the family in for a viewing where they could buy my creations for one whole dollar. I am pleased to report, that show was a sell out.

During high school I acquired a more formal interest in the Visual Arts and would spend hours drawing in my bedroom. During a very rough patch for me, at fifteen years old, I got the most beautiful Puppy. A Chihuahua x jack Russell who filled my whole heart. People say this all the time about their pets, but she really was the best dog. I named her Pip, because she was so small (like the little pips in fruit). I drew her countless times, experimenting with all different mediums.

When I moved out of home, she came with me but began showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease and had to return to the family home where things were more familiar to her. I was devastated.

In 2012, while pregnant with Young Miss, Pip was diagnosed with non-operable urinary cancer. From diagnosis, she lived for approximately a month before it was time to carry her over the rainbow bridge. At the end of the very same week, I began an oil paint portrait of her. It was from a photograph I took when she was first diagnosed. It sat behind my bookcase for almost a year, as it was too painful for me to look at it let alone finish it. One day I spontaneously decided to get it out and finish it during one of Young Miss’ naps.  It was a cathartic, healing process for me. The portrait now sits in my kitchen, where I can look at it all of the time. A beautiful memory of her, on her favourite cushion in the sun, which I can keep for all time. It doesn’t hold the same sadness that her old harness or dishes do, but serves as a memorial and celebration of her life.

Jessica McColl,     Pip (2012-2014),     Oil on Canvas board,     8x10”,     Photo courtesy       of the artist

Jessica McColl, Pip (2012-2014), Oil on Canvas board, 8x10”, Photo courtesy of the artist

Around this time, I began painting the portraits of dogs and cats on death row in high kill Sydney pounds. I would think about their owners, people who have shown so little concern for the fate of their pet that they can surrender them to such places. I wondered what they would think of the fact that a total stranger was willing to spend hours studying their impounded pet and then painstakingly paint them. That their unwanted pets’ portrait circles the internet.

Jessica McColl,     Cobie  (2014) – from Death Row Series,     Oil on Canvas board,     8x10”,     Photo courtesy       of the artist

Jessica McColl, Cobie  (2014) – from Death Row Series, Oil on Canvas board, 8x10”, Photo courtesy of the artist

Artistically I am also interested in challenging the role of the portrait. Traditional oil portraiture was commissioned to depict someone of the upper class, with good breeding to boot is now appropriated and used to depict a death row companion animal of indistinct breeding. The person everyone wants to be is now the one no-one wants to be.

These portraits have been used to advertise the animals in their final days/ hours to help them find homes and have then been offered to the new owners (where I have been able to track them down) at no cost

Aside from this, I also do private commission work. While it is not somewhere I would have envisaged my art practice going, I really enjoy pet portraiture – what animal lover wouldn’t!

So my dear readers, competition time! I am giving away an original 8 x 10” unframed oil portrait of the pet of your choice! Leave a comment on the post below to enter, and for an extra entry, share this post on Facebook while tagging The Feline Foundation and Jessica McColl - Artist (you must also LIKE both pages if you don't already).

This giveaway is open to anyone anywhere in the world and the winner will be drawn on Monday 18th May. Good luck!

Jessica McColl,     Jack Jones (2014) – from Death Row Series,     Oil on Canvas,     40 x 30cm,     Photo courtesy       of the artist

Jessica McColl, Jack Jones (2014) – from Death Row Series, Oil on Canvas, 40 x 30cm, Photo courtesy of the artist

***Please keep in mind that as an original artwork and in oil paint, the winner may have to wait for up to three months for their painting to be sent**