It’s been a busy couple of weeks, but I’ve finally made some time to sit and blog about my most recent art project: HEART. HEART is a continuous project that very much comes from my own heart. Inspired by the photography of Sophie Gamand, this art project will once a month highlight a shelter animal and the shelter caring for them. The artwork created will then be put up for sale with the proceeds going to the shelter/rescue showcased for that month.
As I mentioned earlier, this project is 100% inspired by the work of Sophie Gamand. She’s been using her artistic talents for some time now, making beautifully intricate flower crowns to photograph shelter pitbulls wearing. Her goal is to destigmatize the breed and help find homes for the shelter dogs she photographs. She is a shining example of how to make the world a more beautiful place in a way that is unique to you.
Prior to starting this project, I felt nearly helpless for all the shelters and rescues I follow on social media and in my own community. Since I am currently unable to adopt or foster, I’ve always done my best to donate money. However, there are many times in which I live up to the starving artist cliché and am unable to donate funds. It’s a crappy feeling to want to help, but be unable to do so. It wasn’t until seeing Sophie’s work that I realized I could still help by advocating! Sharing their stories and spreading the word can do so much, especially for smaller and lesser known organizations.
Coming up with the title was harder than coming up with the idea! I admit it sounds a bit cheesy, but I think that’s okay. At the end of the day, it’s the work behind it that matters. The concept of the title stylized in caps with “art” underscored, stems from the saying, “you can’t have heart without art.” Indeed, truly great works of art are made with feeling mixed into the media. Since this project was born in my heart, I wanted to somehow incorporate that into the project name.
Truly, nothing tugs my heart strings more than the wellbeing of animals.
RAD Rescue, Inc. & Bella
Last week I unveiled the project’s inaugural artwork, Bella, on my social media. A graphite pencil portrait of a St. Bernard adorned with a large ribbon bow. Bella is a real dog currently being cared for by RAD Rescue, Inc. She was originally picked up by a rural shelter who passed her along to RAD due to overcrowding. It wasn’t until RAD picked her up that they learned she had never been properly socialized with other dogs or animals. Finding her an only animal household has been less than fruitful so far, but RAD isn’t giving up on her anytime soon!
They estimate Bella’s age to be around four years old, and while she doesn’t care for other four-legged friends, she absolutely adores people! Bella even almost had a forever home! She went home with a family for a trial stay and did great. However, the family’s landlord ended up enforcing a no dog policy. Heartbreaking to be so close to the comfort of a forever home, but hope is not lost. The awesome people at RAD have taken Bella back and are still doing their best to find the perfect people for her as she waits in foster care.
I fell in love with Bella’s picture the first time I saw it and just knew she’d make an excellent portrait subject. Her fluffy fur and markings made drawing her interesting and fun, from an artistic perspective. Bella aside, I specifically wanted to show case RAD Rescue, Inc. I’ve been a fan and a follower of theirs for a while now and have witnessed the good they do for homeless dogs in and around their community. The people behind the scenes very much believe in their mission and give the utmost care for the dogs they take in.
As of writing this, Bella is still waiting for a family. If you are interested in adopting her or would like to learn more about RAD Rescue, Inc., check out their website here!
If you can’t adopt Bella, but would still like to have her in your home, the original along with limited edition prints will be for sale soon! All proceeds of sales will be donated to RAD Rescue, Inc.