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Have you lost a friend and faithful companion and want to remember them in a pet memorial artwork?

Updated: Jan 13

Black Labrador Freddie
Can I come in

Meet Pocklington Freddie (Kennel Club Name) our dearly missed black Labrador.

Fred or "skinny bits", (yes he had them chopped off) was a real character. A gun dog who hated loud bangs, squirrels, golden retrievers but loved water and muddy puddles. He rarely came back from a walk clean and was always ready for the next one, even if it was straight after he had been showered and towelled dry.

Born in the year that Freddie Mercury died, (24th November 1991) he joined the family and, for the first three years caused absolute havoc. He was big, boisterous and had a killer tail which always seemed to find the valuables on the coffee table or low shelf. Hit like a baseball bat, they rarely survived.

But as the years went by Fred calmed down and became the most lovable and affectionate companion. We went on long walks together morning and night, come rain snow or gale and, whilst I moaned and groaned about it, on reflection they did me good. He was a very good listener, never argued and was always on my side. Then at the age of 16, a very good age for a lab, he passed away and is buried behind my art studio. I say good morning to him most mornings and I often reminisce once I get into the studio about his little habits. We talk about Pavlov's Dogs but I can tell you it should be Pavlov's humans. He trained me. Firstly he knew every single note of Eastenders, which was one of the regular evening programmes in the household. As soon as the 'dum dums' started, Fred would slam open the door with one of my shoes in his mouth then do a figure of eight around the lounge until I picked up his lead! The strange thing was though that that was the only time he would come into the lounge. Any other time, even when we invited him in, he would stand looking around the lounge door, to let us know he was there, but wouldn't come in. At that time my wife's father was living with us having unfortunately contracted Parkinson's disease and was unable to continue to look after himself. Fred took on the duties of Reuben's daily carer and tv viewing partner. Due to Fred's proficient begging and doleful eyes, Reuben never had his full quota of lunch!

I was working in Australia on the day he died. I console myself that I spent some time with him at his bed in the kitchen, telling him I'd see him when I got back before leaving but I still remember crying my eyes out in a Sydney hotel after my wife's phone call giving me the bad news. Fred hated having his photo taken. The minute he saw a camera or phone he was off. I think it was the flashes. I sometimes wonder how we chose him but actually on reflection fate was again playing its part, in some way manipulated by Fred. He was part of litter of five or six gold and black pups. The breeder, when someone came to view the pups, would shout "puppies". They were at the time running loose in the back garden. The minute she shouted all the pups ran to her, save Fred, he ran the opposite way. By the time we found out about the litter there were only two puppies left. One the owner was keeping so that only left one - Pocklington Freddie.

If you have read any of my other blogs you will know that I only started to use charcoal as a medium last year, but I was immediately hooked.

My wife has always wanted a memorial of Fred and we have very few good photos of him because of his camera phobia. So talking things through we decided it would be nice for me to create something that reflected his character and personality. The composition almost created itself. Freddie looking around the lounge door with the title

" Can I come in" What could I draw a black Labrador with ? Watercolour, acrylic no of course it had to be charcoal. He also loved chasing sticks, it just seemed appropriate.

So my very first charcoal pet memorial was Fred. He has pride of place, in the lounge and obviously is not for sale but I've put him onto the website as a tribute to him. Yet again he has influenced my actions. I've produced many paintings over the three years since I retired and took art more seriously and I have never quite had the response that my pet memorial portraits have had, as compared with my watercolours and acrylics.

Whilst I enjoy producing any commission in any medium for my clients, nothing has given me more pleasure than my charcoal pets. Producing these Pet Memorial Artworks are almost a labour of love. Since I started producing these commissions several clients have also asked me to record the story of their puppy.

Gertie, the cockapoo, is just one example. The owners, both actors working in London and Stratford have commissioned me to chart her development from chewy little pup to a young dog and, well we'll worry about anything further when the time comes :-).

Gertie the Cockapoo
Gertie Original Image
Gertie the finished commission
Gertie Finished Charcoal

So if you would like to record an old friend or chart the development of a new friend please contact me here

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