Monday, March 14, 2011

Looking for Lucy

It has long been my opinion that our artistic styles, as we develop them, may be reminiscent of someone else’s, sometimes purely by accident. As an illustrator I have copied styles from stylistic Japanese manga to primitive Grandma Moses. My own style has always had a high “cute“ factor to it. I also really like drawing and painting horses and dogs. Familiar with English horse sports and fox hunting in particular, English hunting art has always been present in my life, even if I have never actively collected it.

Last week I was visiting a friend who is an art collector and shop owner specializing in English hunting art. I had gone to see her to look at the works of Cecil Aldin (1870-1935), an artist whose style apparently resembled my own. I found much to admire and aspire to in Aldin’s work. I was determined to study him and learn what I could from his pieces.
Cecil Aldin puppy
At the same time I became curious to research other artists of the early and mid-20th century who worked with similar subject matter. Enter Lucy “Mac” Dawson (1874(?)-1954), a popular mid-century illustrator, best known for her dog art. I had never heard of Lucy Dawson before that day but, to my great surprise, my style resembles hers even more than it resembles Aldin’s. Whoa!

Lucy Dawson Spaniel

I find Dawson’s work delightful and what I have found of it online, has provided me a good platform to study. It is clear to me that the subtlety of both Aldin and Dawson’s work still a bit beyond my grasp. But with both of them as my lamplight, I can see that I can get there. I definitely can get there. Picking up my hardly ever used oil pastels, I created a few small dog pieces to further explore the style. Such a happy experience! ;-)

Some dogs: oil pastel, pencil, and pen
Of course, none of this post refers to my horse art. I can find no samples of Lucy Dawson's horses, if in fact she ever did any. But no matter, Cecil Aldin did, and with his good example, I look forward to bringing some more horses to light in my art very soon. :-)


  1. Good job on the dog sketches. It's great to have 'mentors' even though you never actually get to meet them!

  2. I agree with you Sara: I enjoy drawing animals ^^
    By the way, Lucy is beautiful!!!!

  3. Great post and I love your style, which may be similar to the others but is completely your own at the same time. Cool how that works!

    I have a copy of "Mac" illustrated by Cecil Aldin and LOVE his work, as well as Lucy Dawson's.

  4. Oh i'm so in love with Lucy Dawson Spaniel!!!! that sketch it's just super :) totally in love !