Dogs have been a favorite subject of many artists for centuries. From cave paintings, to the times of Renaissance art and medieval swords, to modern day computer illustrations, dog art has evolved through the years. Dogs are seen as the symbol of loyalty, and during the Renaissance period were often painted with married couples to represent fidelity.
Today, canine art has taken many forms: traditional art with handsome Labradors sunning themselves, art in photography with interesting angles and a seemingly non-posed context, and colourful illustrations of happy go-lucky dogs doing dog agility or ones with hard edges and meaningful stares.
Photosearch.com has over 2000 illustrations, clip art and stock photos of dogs a nice idea to enjoy or for a simple present for someone. Many depict the sweet and easy going personalities of family dogs and their relationships with humans, while in contrast to that, many convincingly illustrate what artists long ago did not capture: the fury of the snarling angry dog. (Some were so convincing, that it made me want to go out and buy some dog pepper spray!)
Although modern art may be edgy and much in demand, classical art still is top-notch when it comes to auction time. Doylenewyork.com has a yearly auction that coincides with Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show called Dogs in Art Auction. The most expensive painting sold last year was American artist Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait’s (1819-1905) Pointer Retrieving a Woodcock, which sold for $23,900 to a collector in the southern states via the Internet. Auctions can be wonderful events; held to raise funds for many canine organizations.
Assistance Dog Institute is a non-profit organization that is training dogs not only on the basics (sit, heel, stay, and how to stop a dog from barking, etc,) but teaches them to turn on lights, open doors, pull chairs and retrieve dropped objects for children and adults with physical disabilities or other special needs. They too often have fund raisers including golf gifts and tournaments or silent auctions. Vendors usually donate new items or weekend stays in the California wine country, but anyone can clean out and organize your clothes closet to find treasures to donate.
Greyhound Gifts is also an organization devoted to the welfare of canines. Susan O’Hara combined her passion for the greyhound and a life-long love of creating hand made ceramic sculpture, and created unique pet gifts. Greyhound pottery vases, sitting greyhounds (greyhound statue) and a head silhouette refrigerator magnet are a few. A portion of all Greyhound Gifts sales directly supports similar greyhound rescue adoption groups to Golden State Greyhound Adoption which is my favorite.
It sounds crazy, but with one organization, not just humans, but the animals themselves can get involved in producing the art that inevitably contributes to their well-being. Dog Scouts of America’s goal is to increase awareness about the human/companion animal bond, and to promote responsible dog ownership. They have many activities and educate owners how to teach using positive reinforcement. One of the activities in particular is teaching dogs to paint. They then hold art shows and even auction off the paintings to benefit organizations which train service dogs for people with special needs.