I have had a service dog from Canine Companions for Independence for 20 years. From their start CCI has provided helpers for people with physical limitations. Five years ago they also began the Wounded Warriors program to provide helpers to returning veterans. In 2013 my friend, Dan Keplinger, invited me to join his next show “Heroes”. I chose to paint my heroes, the service dogs and the veterans, in my artwork series “One Team, Two Heroes”.
My style was new. I had recently discovered my ability to guide my brush to more accurately represent my subjects. I was new to layering many colors to develop a more sophisticated piece that my viewers eye would be able to spend time looking at. To see the stages of development of my “One Team Two Heroes” artwork go here: https://www.donaldryker.com/projects-creating-art/. You can also enjoy other projects there.
The full series includes 4 pieces. In the first 3, the photographer cropped the subject to subtly give a glimpse of the disabled person but feature the service dog clearly. One of the things that attracted me to these photos was how the images express the bond between the service dog and their person. It is common for my dogs to rest their heads on part of me or my wheelchair, to lean against my wheel, and to sit right where I can touch the top of their head or shoulder. We check in with each other all day long like this. Having a service dog means always having a companion.
See more artwork, videos, and projects @ donaldryker.com