You may have noticed that I have been painting a lot of animal portraits lately. I may have found my true calling. While I have owned dogs in the past (Beagle, Scottie, Welsh Corgi and a Lhasa Apso at various times in my life) I now have only my two feline companions to serve as willing (or unwilling) models. Anne Stark, a breeder of champion whippets and dachshunds, has provided literally hundreds of photos of her dogs for me to pick from and hone my skills. (Thanks, Anne!) Along with these have been my friends pets; Mimi, Mr Big, Walter the wonder wiener, and Leo, to name a few. Although a great source of inspiration, they are but a tip of the iceberg in this learning curve of animal portraiture. I flirted with Appropriationism back in the 80's, in a sort of Roy Liechtenstein with Vogue Magazines instead of comics kind of way. It was fun and the paintings well received but what I really got out of it was the sharpening of my portrait skills. I do like having control over my images, but I am not opposed to source material that I can put my own spin on. There is a fun blog called Different strokes from different folks which compels artists to do just that. What I need right now is grist for the creative mill. I'm sure there is a dog show coming up sometime where I can get reference of some more exotic breeds like an Anatolian Shepherd or a Bluetick Coonhound, but my need is now. If you, gentle readers, have a photo or two (or more) of your faithful friends, canine or feline, past or present , and thought "Gosh, Mark could do something fun with this", send it to me and it may find its way onto these pages. JJ is getting bored with the whole posing thing. A link to my e-mail address is on the right column.