So at the coffee shop where I work I make an effort to talk with people that come in. I don’t try to force anything, but I do enjoy engaging with everyone that comes in. I was thinking about this the other day…just how lucky I am to work in a place, in a city, that has people traveling from all over because of their jobs, visiting family, seeing shows and sites and so on. I feel very blessed to serve and get to know people even if for a short amount of time. There’s a man named Kenneth that would come in with his work buddies quite often…they travel a lot. At one point…months later of chatting here and there I asked him what he was up to on his off time and he asked the same of me. We started talking about how I draw and what I was drawing most recently…the pet portraits :) His ears perked up when I let him know about dressing them up in clothing. He had to leave, but he said to me, “I may have a proposition for you for next time.” I was intrigued. So the next time came around and we chatted about his parents dogs…
A little over a year ago, his parents were looking to get puppies after their 18 year old cockapoo died. Cockapoo = cocker spaniel / poodle mix. They knew they wanted to name one of the dogs Jordy, and after going back and forth on names, they decided that Nelson was a ridiculous but fitting name for the other. So there you have it, Jordy and Nelson. Kenneth’s mom is a fan of the Kansas State Wildcats, making her a huge fan of Jordy Nelson. Jordy Nelson grew up on a farm in Riley, KS, which is less than an hour from Manhattan, KS, where K-State is located. He walked on at KSU and became one of the best receivers to ever play football there. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers, and has become not only their best receiver, but one of the best receivers in the NFL. By all accounts, he remains a humble, aw shucks farmboy, and during the offseason he comes back to KS and helps out on his family’s farm.
So, back to the dogs :) Both of them are practically identical. They weigh roughly 15 pounds and have sandy brown and soft but wiry fur. They have very sweet personalities, and at one year old, they are still rambunctious puppies who love to play together. In order to tell them apart, Jordy always wears a purple KSU collar, while Nelson wears a Green Bay Packers collar. They also occasionally wear jerseys which makes it easier to tell them apart.
This project was new for me, but I could not have been more excited for this opportunity. These portraits were to be a surprise christmas present for his parents. For the most part people have asked for formal wear on their pet portrait so I was thoroughly stoked to take on a couple football jerseys. The thought of color came to mind as well…which is another thing I haven’t tried with these portraits yet…or this style of drawing. I was rather nervous to attempt, but I felt that it would display a difference in the dogs and represent the teams a little bit better. The first portrait came fairly easy, but the second one I struggled with the fur…I kept drawing on it and wanted it to work, but with the encouragement of a good friend of mine I knew that it would be best to start over. I wouldn’t have been happy with it and I would’ve worried about Kenneth’s parents being okay with it as well. Sometimes it’s hard to start over…I really struggle with it honestly…but I’m really glad I did. Once completed, I wrapped the frames safely in bubble wrap…wrapped that in christmas paper and shipped it off to Kansas with a card. Another reason that this project was special to me was that my own family are Packer fans…so it was kind of a feeling of being with my family…which was nice.