I’ve been taking baby steps in sketching and watercolours. Yesterday I decided to copy a photograph Ramesh had taken of our dog. He was a German shepherd, somewhat goofy, but we loved him. He died several years ago. His name was Sheru, short for Sher Khan.

Making this little picture was really interesting for me. First I did a pencil sketch. The photograph was full of dappled light and shade, and I wanted to capture it, so my sketch was very busy, like one of those old paint-by-numbers kits. Probably a mistake. Then I started painting, working from light to dark, and it was okay. But when I tried to do the darker shadows it suddenly looked ghastly. So I grabbed a larger brush, and filled it with water, and tried to scrub off as much as I could. I decided it was beginning to look okay again, though all the light and shade had vanished. Then I thought I would just highlight the eyes a little with ink. Yikes! It looked awful! With nothing to lose, I thought I’d just add a few more lines with ink. Then I decided it wasn’t too bad after all. (though Ramesh said, “Just don’t let Sheru see it!”) What a roller coaster ride – who knew painting could be so exciting?

I think of Sheru’s long thin body, ambling through grass. In the night, sometimes, we’d look out the window and see him rolling on the lawn, his legs waving in the air, silent, alone, happy.

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