Veterinarian Reviewed on March 17, 2009 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Everyone knows about the artistic talents of Elephants and Dolphins, but did you know that dogs and cats are artistic as well?
Take 3 year old Ziggy for example: a rescued Pekingese with an affinity for creating his own paintings. Ziggy uses his teeth to hold a paint brush that has been modified with a paper towel roll as a larger handle. He then dips the bristles onto a paint pallet with a little help from his owner Elizabeth Monacelli, and is then placed upon a drop cloth by a wall, near a blank canvas. Ziggy approaches the canvas and starts his masterpiece by moving his head and smearing the paint against the canvas.
One of the most famous doggie artists is an 8 year old Jack Russell Terrier named, Tillamook Cheddar, aka Tillie. She first started painting using taped carbon paper that was placed face down on paper then mounted on mat board. These days, Tillie uses a more complex medium: using oil sticks applied to vellum. Her owner/assistant, F. Bowman Hastie III, discovered Tillie’s artistic talent when she was five months old. To date, Tillie’s has done 17 solo exhibits and her art has been shown in art galleries throughout the USA, Belgium, Holland where her paintings have fetched up to $2200 each. She has even done 26 collaborative works with other well-known human artists.
Tillie even has her own line of doggie merchandise: Tillie, LTD. Hastie opened a shop in New York that features everything from dog food and T-shirt apparel to note cards and a few of Tillie’s paintings.
If you would like to know more about Tillie, you can always pick up a copy of her autobiography: Portrait of the Dog as a Young Artist: Art from Scratch, by the World’s Preeminent Canine Painter by F. Bowman Hastie III. Tillie also has her own website.
Another great dog artist is Mozart, a Harlequin Great Dane. Mozart is the spokesdog for Harlequin Haven Great Dane Rescue which is against puppy mills, pet stores, and homeless dogs. According to Mozart’s bio he has dedicated his life to this cause and in doing so creates art by painting with his paws. “Painting helps me to overcome my pain of my early days in a puppy mill and also helps with bringing awareness to these issues.”
All proceeds of Mozart’s paintings go to helping the homeless dogs that the Harlequin Great Dane Rescue helps. A few of his paintings have also been donated for various charitable benefits. Mozart has also had his paintings shown in several art gallery shows and has participated in art festivals.
Mozart’s paintings can be bought online at the Harlequin Great Dane Rescue website. His paintings are done on stretched canvas with acrylic paint. None are framed.
Other charitable dog painters are the famous Shore Service Dogs dubbed the ‘Doggy Da Vincis’. These pooches are not only trained service dogs but artists of note as well! These paintings are sold to raise money for the training of service dogs and their art has been documented in magazines, newspapers and television shows the world over. Their paintings can also be found in various art galleries as well. The dogs paint using a paint brush held in their mouth and paint on paper that is held up by an easel. To view there musterpieces you can visit their website.
The smallest dog painter is Lian Xi, a 2 year old Chihuahua. Lian Xi loves to paint using non-toxic tempera paints to run, jump and lick on canvas boards that are spread out on the floor. Her work is on show at her studio at the Pendleton Art Center and on her website at www.lianxinart.com.
Whilst there are no recorded kitty artists, be sure to visit the website of the Museum of Non Primate Art. It has a section dedicated to ‘Why Cats Paint’. Although this site is obviously a spoof, there is quite some humor in their ’18 pictorial cards which have been specially designed by their animal psychologist to enable people to test their cat’s creative potential.’
If you are inspired to see whether or not your dog or cat has any artistic potential, you can purchase an Art-Casso Paint Kit for Dogs or an Art-Casso Paint Kit for Cats! It is a no mess, non-toxic paint kit for dogs and cats that provides hours of painting fun for your pet.
Photo Credit: Harlequin Great Dane Rescue
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan