We are United States Strong

In 2011 Hurricane Irene severely damaged many parts of Vermont.
In typical Vermont fashion, the citizens set to work repairing their state.
Rutland residents Eric Mallette and Lyz Tomsuden created this now iconic image — a black silhouette of the state over green with the words “I am Vermont Strong,” emblazoned in white — with the, “simple intention of producing good energies out of the disaster.”
On March 13, 2020, when Vermont’s governor Phil Scott ordered us to stay Home and Save Lives, I remembered the Vermont Strong slogan and adapted it to a Rufus Card. I have been using my border collies as characters since at least 1980, so this wasn’t a surprise.
Eventually my bulletin board was full, from west to east, from north to south, every state, district, at least one nation and territory.
Finally, Rufus embraces the entire country. This one is called
“No borders, just a Border Collie.”
Who wouldn’t want to listen to this guy?

All the images are available as giclee prints on my etsy site.

Painting Rocket

Anyone who knows me, knows I love Border Collies. I admire the intelligence that shines through in their gaze and their graphic markings that make them extra fun to draw and paint.

Recently I was lucky to be commissioned by his doting mama to paint a portrait of Rocket, a handsome western fellow. Lori sent a variety of photos and I chose several to work from. I liked his face in one and the aspen forest background from another.

I worked on a Dick Blick wooden panel–the 6″ x 12″ format seemed especially good for this subject and I knew my Holbein Acryla Gouache paints would look great. I can paint all four edges of this panel to become part of the work of art and they are light and easy to hang, even in a tight space.

As usual, I start with loose shapes and brushwork and work tighter as I home in on the particular details of this animal. I’ve found that the eyes, ears, and mouth convey a dog’s personality most clearly.

Even at this stage I found I needed to dash in some new areas of warmth to set up the complementary contrasts.

Above and below see how the deep edges of the panel become part of the artwork. I keep them more abstract than the main image but large landscape elements carry over.

The finished portrait of Rocket in the Aspen Grove with a lucky ladybug as the final touch.

If you’ve enjoyed this and want to order a portrait of your favorite companion, please get in touch: ashley@ashleywolff.com