For most people I know, their families were begun long before they were even born. I’m not talking about siblings or even cousins. I’m talking about family dogs.
My parents had their first baby Roxie, a blonde Cocker Spaniel, well before I entered the world. My calling her to come play ended up being my first word – I said “Mmmmm!” and she would come running. I guess she was my big sister.
That’s not an Instagram filter, kids. That’s an honest to goodness retro photo of Roxie and me.
Roxie lived until I was elementary school aged. She was followed in our family by Pepper, a mixed-breed abandoned pup that my mother rescued as she was being sent to the animal shelter (or the dog pound, as they were called back then). Pepper lived a long, happy life until her passing right before I went to college.
I have always had a soft spot in my heart for dogs. I spend a lot of time complaining about all the dog hair and muddy paw prints bestowed on my home by our two current babies, Jack and Duke, but I can’t imagine life without them. I’m sure you feel the same way about your pups.
A while back, I came across a vintage painting that reminded me so much of Roxie. She was painted on cardboard with a mottled green background. It was love at first site, and I named her Roxie II. At the time I didn’t know that she was a mid-century Paint by Number kit, painted by children (and some adults) by filling in numbered areas with specified colors of oil paints. This was a technique that was meant to teach the art of painting.
I don’t know if Roxie II’s painter would consider herself an artist, but I think that she was. My love affair with these vintage dog-themed PBNs has rapidly swelled based upon my first painting. I don’t find many in person, so I’m lucky to have the internet so that I can grow my collection from the comfort of my sofa.
A lot of people (like Tom) don’t understand my obsession with them. I can’t quite put my finger on it either. I love the kitsch of them. I love the colors that were selected for each piece. I love the sweet faces of these pups. I love to imagine kids sitting around their 1960s kitchen tables with their siblings, painting dogs on a Saturday afternoon.
And I particularly love that Victoria painted Roxie II, since she signed the back in a child’s scrawled out cursive. The same goes for the two German Shepherds, who were painted by Jimmie.
Because my collection has a cohesive theme, I decided to do something a little different than a traditional gallery wall. Instead of trying to gather a bunch of frames in the same color and styles for all of my paintings, I have framed them all in wooden frames that coordinate with the paintings themselves. I think the mixed frames gives the collection a collected over time look. Non-matching frames will also be easier for me in the long term since I won’t have to worry about finding matching frames as my collection grows over the years.
Because of the herringbone wood paneled wall I have in my office, the frames look amazing on the wall. I just can’t explain to you how happy they make me every time I look at them.
And yes, I talk to them. Is that weird? Yeah, probably.
For instance, each time I look at the little guy with the orange background, I say either, “What’s the matter buddy? Why are you so sad?” or “Uh, oh. Somebody did something bad.” How could you NOT want to talk to that cutie? Look at those eyes!
I certainly foresee my collection growing rapidly, as the more PBNs I get, the more I want. Like my love of dogs started with Roxie, my love of dog themed vintage PBNs started with Roxie II.
Have you framed a collection in non-identical frames? I’d love to hear about it or even see your own photos.