Original on 16" x 20" canvas
This is Zooey. She's named after Zooey Deschanel. <3
Airedales and Zooey Deschanel have a lot in common. They are known for being smart and a bit wry, endearing clowns, loving, fiesty, and all about business when it's time to be all about business - they get stuff done. This Zooey is all of those things.
She came to her family as an expander, and that is her gift. She is a large presence in their home with abundant energy. She shifts seemlessly between work and play, and she strongly prefers play.
Zooey demands to be connected. She demands to be seen and acknowledged and involved. For many families, this intensity would be too much. For Zooey's family, it is the expansion they needed - before Zooey came to live with them, their beloved Beagle, Salem, had died. Having so much life in the home again was just right.
She watches over the children while at the same time playing along side them. She frolicks away on adventures (where she needs to be chased down in the car with treats) and patrols the perimeter of her family's space. These things don't go together and yet they do. That is her magic.
In Zooey is this incredible blend of doing what needs to be done and totally cutting loose and enjoying life. Work and play aren't separate categories or opposite ends of a spectrum. In Zooey's world, they are simply different areas of something that must like like a möbius strip. It's all the same, just different.
Her people told me that they've learned to appreciate spontaneity, living in the moment, and playfulness with Zooey's guidance. They also admire her ability to focus and work; in a world where we tend to think of playfulness as being anti-work, this is especially wonderful.
Zooey's message is about a full life, and her take is that integration is necessary. There is no balance, there is blending. It's finding ways to bring joy to tasks and being fully attentive to open play when the time is right. It's being aware of here and now and living in that place.
"Be here. With me. And do fun stuff."
Thank you, Zooey.
Now for a few artist's notes.
I had the pleasure of seeing many photographs of Zooey, and when I came upon the one I chose to use it had some Zooey magic to it. On the right of the image (to Zooey's left), was a large window that cast soft light on her. I could see her eye so clearly and perfectly, and this light bath seemed it was screaming for something sunny in pop art.
So Zooey is almost two-sided in this piece, and that is so much of how she lives her life. Except that there isn't a hard line - one part fades into the other. Because Zooey is all about blending. Her yellow background intensifies into a darker orange and then lively pink, because that's how she would do it if she had opposable thumbs and an interest in graphic art. <3
I'm Shannon, and I love and am loved by four Great Danes, four cats, and one horse (four Danes, one cat, and one horse are no longer walking this earth). Here I'll share stories of my adventures in grief photography for companion animals, my own grief journey, and thoughts on caregiving.