Take a look at artist Sally Muir’s website and you’ll come across some of the most winning paintings and drawings of every type of dog you could imagine. What makes them so special? Each dog is an individual. There are pensive lurchers and elegantly smiling whippets. I like the slightly bemused wire-haired dachshund with the imploring eyes. As for the beady-eyed sergeant major of a Miniature Schnauzer, above, although he reminds me of someone currently off duty, asleep on my foot, he’s definitely not Teddy. He’s his own dog, and that’s the thing.
A clear display of Muir’s skill, the dogs don’t even have to show their face for us to get an inkling of their personality. One whiskery hound points away into the distance, with drooped shoulders of resignation. They are all so distinctive and so very beautiful.
How to capture so much doggy character? “Concentrate on eyes, general stance, the big outline, the big shapes…” Although she started with children’s portraits and she has published niche knitting books, Muir has long had an affinity with dogs. “My daughter recently found one of my drawing books from when I was 12 and it was full of them,” she says.
Speaking to her on the telephone, I can hear a yowling in the background. “I have two whippets. One sits on top of the bed and the other one gets herself jammed underneath and just barks.”
While her subject of choice might be, ‘a lovely Lurcher, slightly old,’ her remit is broad. She has her A Dog A Day page on Facebook. “I wanted to do it as a project but it’s been going for more than a year… I have a large following of dog lovers and I just keep going.”
An exhibition of her works opened yesterday at Anthropologie in Kings Road, London. While her paintings can go for up to £1200, you can also find her works in store on a sweet series of affordable desert plates, tea towels and platters. If you are lucky and sign up in time, you can have your dog drawn by Sally Muir in a 15-minute session for £30, at a one-off customer event on 6th August. To reserve a spot, email Anthropologie: firstname.lastname@example.org.