In the painting Sweet and Low, just above the Basset Hound's tail, a scribbled blurb, "tail of the tape," points to a trompe l'oeil yellow tape measure that borders the canvas. Actually the term "Tale of the Tape" is often used in the sport of boxing - a list matching the physical dimensions of competitors before a bout - usually a comparison of height, weight, arm reach, age, etc. etc. My play on words, of course, re-focuses the spotlight from the pugilist to the pup.

But I knew even before finishing this painting that the body of work for Dog Park had to be about far more than the physical dimensions of dogs. For me it is about the lessons I have learned from watching dogs...their unabashed, joyful anticipation of and participation in their daily outings.

When I considered Dog Park as my title it became clear that what I needed to do was to follow the dog's "lead" and apply their spirited liberation to painting itself. In a dog park the area is somewhat defined and somewhat familiar but each day the encounters are different, the surroundings modify, the characters changes roles, the terrain varies with foreground and background taking turns in importance. One day a bullet-like sprint up the hill is followed by a lingering sniff in the grass, then suddenly a distraction and a spirted chase. Another day, a cloudburst warrants an antsy, interminable wait in the car only to be rewarded with yummy, oozing mud puddles. Getting dirty. Wiping off. Letting go.

Yes, there are plenty of canines filling the canvases of this series but what I hope fills the paintings is my sense of enjoyment. I feel like I am running with the muse again, off the leash, open to surprises, following my nose to discover a new direction...just like a romp in the park.