Classical music lovers debate absolute music, or music for music’s sake and not intended to tell a story, and program music, or music that tells a story or offers metaphors to evoke images or events. Not sure if there’s an equivalent discussion in fine art—abstraction versus realism perhaps?

This blog’s painting, “Powell’s Barn,” doesn’t tell a story, but it comes from a story.

mickeyIt starts with Mickey, a puppy that failed his temperament test at eight weeks and kept me sleep-deprived for months. His attention span was less than thirty seconds and, despite his small body, his jaws could demolish in minutes treats intended to last a week. I thought he was Demon-Dog.

At seven months, I was seriously considering returning him to his breeder until my friend LP took a good look at him, concluded, “this is just a normal puppy,” and introduced me to the trainer who had rescued her own relationship with one of her dogs. LP even met me at the trainer’s to effect the introductions.

Now, months later, Mickey is sleeping through the night, obeying (most of the time) and signed up for Intermediate Dog Training. He’s taught me a lot. And he’s totally in tune with his job of being Man’s Best Friend.

To thank LP, I created this watercolor of her barn, which has now been torn down (and rebuilt in Texas as a wedding hall – but that’s another story).

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Here’s the little guy at 10 months with my nephew Evan.

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