Our Bubba

According to the American Kennel Club, the Bulldog is equable and resolute, dignified and courageous. And then there's our Bubba; Gus really, or actually Augustus, named for the character Augustus McCrae in Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove.  If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it.  It's amazing. I won't write a review, but check out this site if you want to know more.

It's not that Gus isn't those things, it's just that I wouldn't necessarily choose those particular adjectives to describe him. :)  Although, of those, courage really isn't his strong suit.  Gus is afraid of many, many things, including vacuum cleaners, garbage cans, shopping bags, or anything you might be holding that's unfamiliar.  He is, however, stubborn and predictable, lovable and sweet.

Gus came into our lives right before we were married, and was our first baby.  He went to puppy kindergarten, doggy daycare, was my walking partner, and had birthday parties!  His role in our family has changed a lot since we've had actual children, but as he's grown up, he's adapted well. 

Bulldogs are listed in the bottom ten of the smartest dog breeds, which means that in a study they needed to hear commands 80-100 times before they obeyed them 25% of the time.  I wouldn't necessarily call him dumb though.  He has us pretty well trained to do whatever he wants! 

While Gus drives me crazy by barking at the most inopportune times (naptime!), shedding all over the house, eating anything smallish that lands on the floor (binkies, puzzle pieces, sippy cups, wallets), and jumping on our guests, he's also sweet, cuddly, and attentive.  He sits on our laps as soon as there's an opportunity and adores being scratched, pet or brushed.  He responds to tears with a compassionate head tilt and a consoling nuzzle.  He's a favorite at the vet; each time we visit the doctors and techs can't get enough of him.  He's definitely a quirky guy, but he's our Bubba.

I wanted some large scale art for our office and thought Gus would be the perfect subject!  I've been looking forward to finally using some navy blue in my decorating, and the slate grey/blue office is the perfect space for it (this photo is in the dining room- the office has no space for photos right now!).  This piece is painted onto a 3ft. x 3ft. piece of 3/4in. mdf.  I started with some white interior flat paint as a base and used a navy blue craft paint for the design.  To sketch Gus, I started with this photo:

This is Gus' expression when you're holding food in one hand while you take a picture with the other. Actually, this is his expression anytime there's food involved. :)

Using Photoshop Elements, I traced around Gus using the magnetic lasso tool and then filled the background in with a light color.  I used the stamp effect to create a stencil look.  

I drew small grid marks on the mdf board at 4 inch increments and turned on the grid in Elements.  Each 1 inch square on my picture in Elements was a 4 inch square on my board, if that makes sense.  I was able to use the grid to draw the picture of Gus.  It made it so much easier to draw such a large scale picture.  Once the main outlines were down in pencil, I painted over them with the blue paint and erased the pencil marks. 

 I can't wait to put this in the office!  It will be nice to start getting that room put together!


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