Boris vs. Porcupine

boris porcupine feature image

We put our beloved Boris down just over a year ago. I still miss my big buddy. Ten years was too short a time to spend with such a sweet-hearted dog.

Here’s a quickie portrait of Boris after an encounter with a porcupine. Boris seemed very pleased with himself at the time. Fortunately none of the quills were very deep or in sensitive areas.

Our previous dog, Reggie, a border-collie tried taking a bite out of a porcupine and ended up with 41 quills in her mouth. The vet bill was $300 which works out to about $7.31 per quill.

In this portrait, I’m trying to loosen up my brushwork while still capturing the likeness. The looseness conveys a lot more energy than careful, precise strokes. In general, I prefer more energetic paintings, though having spent the last 35 years as a graphic designer, it’s sometimes hard to break away from the habitual obsession with precision.

Eventually, I’d like to develop my style in a way that bridges realism and abstract. In other words, I want to create paintings built from abstract shapes that work together to convey a realistic image.

I guess another way of saying this is that I want each stroke to be interesting in and of itself. That is a lofty goal and could very possibly take the rest of my life to achieve, if it’s even possible.

Boris vs porcupine portrait

"You should see the other guy!"

Pet Portraits

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About the Author


Topdog is the online persona of Steve Merryman, a semi-retired graphic designer, illustrator, and winner of over ninety regional and national awards. Living in the woods just west of Idaho (USA), Steve keeps busy on projects that interest him (tell him about yours – he might take it on!). Steve spends his spare time painting; writing; chopping firewood; shooting guns; hiking with his dogs; savoring the occasional beer; searching for the perfect cheeseburger; and wondering where he left his pants.

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