January 30th, 2008
This is an old one. My father kindly scanned it and sent it to me, knowing I might be able to use it for this project. I can only vaguely place this piece in time. I did it as a Christmas gift for my mother. I know two things. I was working at McGraw-Hill and my parents had their shih-tzu, Suki. Good and bad memories.
Good memory: Suki wasn’t one of those yippie yappie kind of small dogs, she was actually quite sweet. She came as a surprise to me when she first showed up, as my parents never said a word about bringing her home. One evening, I heard my sister greet my parents at the door and then begin crying. There’s a moment to freeze the blood. But it turns out that Megan was simply overwhelmed by the tiny little puppy that came in. I absolutely loved the fluff-ball from the start.
Bad memory: I hated my job at McGraw-Hill. The CEC division (Continuing Education Center) was a poisonous place with bad management and an outdated business model. Six years of hating work days and even hating Sundays because the next day was work. I might as well have been back in school. But for the early days, I still lived at home. It was so nice to come home to Suki, who never failed to greet me enthusiastically. And I know I was at McGraw-Hill when I created this image because I used a machine that chemically developed line-art for our books. I used an x-acto knife to scrape the special paper and then exposed it to the chemicals. I wasn’t much of an artist back then, but I do think this looks fairly good, especially considering the method. You can spot the chemical nature of this, as it has a slight yellow tinge.
Good Memory: While living in London, I rarely saw Suki. But when I did go home, I loved spending time with her. She was a bit diminished on each successive visit, but she was still the little dog I adored. When Maggie and I moved back permanently, in late December of 1999, she was frail and slow but still made an effort.
Bad Memory: On the day after Christmas that year, my dad phoned to tell me that Suki hadn’t made it through the night. We’d left the Christmas day celebrations at my parent’s home in the evening, and Suki was very frail and shaky. I don’t know if my dad knew what was going to happen that evening, and if he just waited to save our Christmas. I can’t imagine how hard that Christmas night trip to the vet to say goodbye that last time was for him. It wouldn’t have been easy at any time, but Christmas? I just can’t imagine.
So thanks, Dad, for sending this along. I get to see how far I’ve come as an artist, and to remember fondly that little dog who meant so much to me.