Charlie and Willow

Charlie and Willow are two glorious Spaniels from Hampshire. As someone who has a certain reputation for painting Gundogs, I always get a kick when I’m commissioned to paint them. I have a particular soft spot for Spaniels and when the opportunity arises to paint both Springers and Cockers together -well - seventh heaven!

The lovely thing about painting two dogs in one portrait, is attempting to illustrate the difference in their two personalities. When they are both Spaniels - noted for their exuberance and limitless energy, it can get a bit tricky. Nevertheless, I hope I’ve managed to suggest that Charlie (the Springer) although full of life and vigour, is slightly more stayed than Willow (the Cocker) who is an absolute fire-cracker.

Their mistress, Helen, took me to a local area of woodland to find the right background for the piece. This is where they are walked and so is very appropriate. We came across this wonderful old, fallen tree that felt perfect for the job. Furthermore, she instructed me on their individual habit’s of picking things up. With Charlie it’s sticks - always sticks. Willow on the other hand has a particular affinity for Crab Apples. Seasonal, I’ll grant you, but these idiosyncrasies needed to be illustrated in their portrait and I think you can make out both items at the feet of each dog.