Week 21: Neighborhood Pets

Collage papers and drawings

This week’s collage is a playful exploration of the neighborhood pets and their relationships. As I walk my dog, Holly, around the cul-de-sac and up and down our quiet streets, we often encounter other animals, sometimes from a distance, and sometimes nose to nose.  As short barks or sniffs are exchanged, I wonder about their communications and understanding of one another.  Through many small drawings, I tried to capture the personalities of actual pets in the neighborhood, as well as drawing new characters of my own invention. My approach allowed for simple cartoon-like animals, as well as more realized renderings. I borrowed leftover paper elements from previous collages and combined them with new drawings. The process was fun, light-hearted and maybe a little bit silly at moments. Welcoming this attitude in my work felt great. Here is the final collage, followed by favorite details.

Neighborhood Pets, acrylic collage, 12 x 12

Detail, Neighborhood Pets- The Nest, Olivia and the Mocking Bird

Detail, Neighborhood Pets- Holly and the Mocking Bird

Detail, Neighborhood Pets- A cat crosses the cul-de-sac

Detail, Neighborhood Pets- This is their neighborhood too!

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Pets

A good sniffing spot

Holly walks beside me, the dangling leash a mere formality between us. We make our way along the usual route, occasionally stopping to watch a bird, finding comfort in our synchronized daily habit.  Suddenly the leash goes taut. Holly jerks me out of my daydream. A white-tailed rabbit hip-hops in a zig-zag pattern across the neighbor’s lawn.  An orange cat pounces after it. A little white dog lets out an affirmative yap and joins the parade.  Muffled barks come from the house down the street, as a wet nose presses against the glass pane beside the front door.  Holly and I observe the commotion. She looks at me as if to ask if she can join in the fun. But the leash stays on and we continue our walk. She stops to sniff a patch of grass with great interest. I remember reading once that for dogs, smells are like messages written in invisible ink. They may understand who left the message and how long ago, judging time and distances in way that is alien to us humans. But what does it say? She continues rifling nose first through the grass, inhaling the information, much like the way I approach the New Yorker when it comes in the mail. Wordless smells, tell me all your secrets…

Holly surveys the neighborhood from the hilltop, a galaxy of smells.