The winners of the Dog Self Portrait competition along with four surprise entries were presented with their artwork by Clive Hemsley, The Dog Portrait Artist at his studio in Shepherds Green last night.
There were 54 entries to the competition which the Herald ran in February and asked readers to vote on their top five. In first place was Caroline Barefield’s entry of Maggie, a Cocker Spaniel with her grandson Alfie Powell. Caroline is a dog walker and walks Maggie twice a week for owner Michelle Winters. Caroline said “It was taken last June in lockdown. We used to regular take a picnic to Crowsley Park and my daughter Bea took it. I’m going to treasure this and put it up in the sitting room. Alfie added, “It’s great and I love it. He’s one of favourite dogs my Granny walks.”
In second place was an entry by Loui Harris of her husband Andy and his dog Buda, a rescue Hungarian Wild-hair Visla who was brought over from Hungary. Loui entered the competition without Andy knowing. Loui said, “The picture was taken a few years ago in Wolvercote. We go on Visla meets where we all go on a walk together. We stopped at the pub for refreshments and she’s a very affectionate and she needed a hug.” Andy said, “One of the other people on the walk who was a keen amateur photographer took the photo and captured it perfectly and forwarded it to us. I didn’t know anything about the competition until tonight.” Loui added, “She’s our third dog and she’s his favourite dog.” Andy added, “I absolutely love it and it just captures everything so beautifully. I loved the photograph but this has just brought it to life. It’s a picture I will really cherish because it captures everything I feel about her and how she feels about us.”
Gloria the Dachshund with owner Annie Rose was voted in third place. Gloria is 2 years old. Annie said, “My friend me tagged me on Facebook and said I should enter with Gloria. She hadn’t seen the picture. This picture was taken on the first day I got her. It’s amazing, the detail is incredible, the eyes, the tiny crinkle in her nose. I’m going to put up in my room.”
Clive chose four other entries to paint as he liked their compositions. The Herald wrote to the owners to surprise them to tell them that they had also won artwork of their entries. They were Simon Shepherdson, Charlotte Chaffey, Philippa Armstrong and Lisa Felix.
Simon Shepherdson was photographed with his Cockapoo, Buttons. Simon was experiencing some very difficult work related issues at the time the photo was taken. Simon said, “It was taken at very low point. It was the first time I had smiled in five weeks and we were in the garden of The Flower Pot pub. I didn’t realise I was doing it. I was just interacting with her and the moment was captured by my daughter-in-law. When I got the photo I thought wow and when I saw the competition I thought I would enter it. The artwork is unbelievable. Simon’s wife added, “I’m actually overwhelmed and quite tearful.” The photograph came up as a memory on Facebook a couple of days ago. How bizarre is that.”
Philippa Armstrong entered her true selfie entry with her dog Dudley a 7 year old Cavachon rescue dog. Philippa said, “I took this fantastic selfie from our holiday and I loved it. It was taken on Bowleaze Cove in Dorset last summer. I love the painting and that’s definitely me and definitely Dudley. It’s amazing!”
Charlotte Chaffey who has three Labradors and is a breeder, entered a photo of her dog Teddy who is 8. Charlotte said, “I think he’s my original true love and his pedigree is called True Love and it was the first dog of my own. I love that picture particularly as he looks like he’s really enjoying that cuddle and kiss. I took it myself in my bedroom. I absolutely love the painting, it’s gorgeous and the detail is insane and I love the tones of it. It’s really beautiful and Clive is really talented.”
Clive said, “It was really nice to meet all the owners. They’re all so lovely because they’re dog owners. It was so nice to see their faces when they saw the paintings unveiled. It took me about a month to paint all seven. It was a good escape and relaxing to paint whilst my planning appeal on the studio was going on. Composition is key to a painting and I thought the other four were so good that I wanted to paint these too.”