I wasn’t quite sure how it would be accepted, if at all, but it was something I felt strongly about doing, so had to go with my gut reaction.
As it was, it couldn’t have gone any better.
I’d finished the acrylicÂ painting in the week, and knew it was the best I could do with the information I had.Â I framed it in an appropriate frame, and found a suitable bag to put it in.Â And the next day, took it along to the person I wanted to present it to. He had no idea whatsoever of what was coming his way…….
The minute I saw him, I said “I’ve got something for you!” and he looked puzzled at me wondering what it was. I took the painting out of the bag, and turned it so that he could see it. He looked at it, and did a gulp, as he took it all in, knowing instantly who had taken the photo that the picture was based on. I nodded, and said that I had done it as a thankyou, for all the help he’d given me recently, and that it wasn’t done to upset him (as I knew it was going to, to a degree, as it was his much loved dog who had died recently of an illness that just dragged out the knowledge of him dying and being ill, everyone who knows him was so fully aware of the unfairness of it all) but as a celebration of his life, and the huge gap that he had left. He looked down at the painting and started stroking the glass, so I knew then that I’d got it right. That automatic stroking of a pet that we miss so much, and do subconsciouslyÂ when we see a picture of them again, wanting the theraputic comfort of that stroking action. And he said as he looked at it “You’ve captured him perfectly, it’s spot on” and hugged me, a big strong hug, full of emotion and thanks. I’d done my job, and even though it caused some upset with it, it was the upset of love and bereavement, and I recognised it as such. We had a few quiet words together and he went off with his head down, and I went off, humbled at his reaction.
TheÂ day after I went to watch the Formula One race on the telly at his place, my first visit there, and as my fella and I sat down with him and another couple of friends to watch the race, over cups of hot sweet teaÂ I saw the “shrine” that he’d made for Houdini, the photos and pictures of him, all together by the settee, my new painting central to the collection. And he told me that he was going to have a tattoo done of the dog, based on the picture that I’d done for him. He’d already talked to the Tattooist, a guy I know well, and they had both decided in the same split second when they’d chatted about it, that it was ideal for the tattoo that he wanted done. And the picture I’d done showed the dog in a pose that he was famed for, holding one leg up to lean on something, so that he could have his belly rubbed – and the tattoo would be placed on the guy’s chest, so that Houdini would have his leg leaningÂ pressed on his heart. I had a bit of a misty moment when I heard that. Perfect, absolutely perfect!
And I’m so touched to have been part of the artistic process towards it, knowing that the tattooist will base his artwork on my painting, and I based that on a photo that someone else took and gave to me…..