Winter Companion – Yellow Labrador
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16” x 24”, acrylic on board, 1985
For an outdoorsman, his dog is the ideal companion. That is not to say the other members of the family cannot be as good or even better, but they are often busy at the moment when you need to take a hike. Your dog is never too busy. In fact, a hike with his master is his number one priority. It even takes precedence over eating. I have tried, as an experiment, giving a cheerful signal, "You want to go on a hike?" during my dog's dinner. He doesn't hesitate for a second. I usually am fiddling around in preparation -- putting on boots, looking for binoculars, finding my gloves, etc. My canine buddy doesn't need preparation. He is instantly ready and has been to the door and back to check on me 25 times while I am still looking for my other glove. He races out to lead the way with great confidence, even if he doesn't know which way we are going.
I like to have a selection of routine trails which have variety but a great familiarity at the same time. This is exactly the way he likes it. Once he finds which trail I'm taking, he leads the way. Any dog I have hiked with has led the way. That is why I have shown this view in the painting. It is the normal view the outdoorsman has of his companion.