'The famous artist of Gnomes paints and chats about his own lovable canine pets as well as other dogs of every size and shape- their virtues and faults, comic and endearing ways, and tail-wagging, face-licking devotion.'
A call to all dog lovers! I am introducing you to a book you've most likely never heard of, but one that will become a fast favorite! Now, don't view this as a full-fledged book review. It's just my praise of the book and a few critiques.
So, now you're probably aching to know what book this is! Written by famed artist, Rien Poortvliet, I introduce Dogs. I know, I know! It doesn't say a whole lot because many pet books are given this same title. So, I must explain why this book is so special and a true dog lover's treasure.
If you are a dog owner, or have simply been around dogs enough to understand their behavior and distinct characteristics, you'll instantly relate to and love Porrtvliet's Dogs.
What makes this book worth its weight in gold? The author's love for dogs is admirable and his artwork in incomparable. That's where the uniqueness all starts. It is not a care manual. It is not a breed encyclopedia. It is simply one person's love for God's creation. He expresses it through both his words and his skillful paintings and sketches. The book has wit, realistic (and often therefore comical) portrayals of dog ownership, and full of charm. It definitely captures the heart of dog lovers!
You will easily fall in love with the author's dogs... Sep, his dear old German Short-haired Pointer, and his wife's wire-haired dachshund, Max. Then there's Timotheus and Manasse his Jack Russel Terriers, and the list goes on. But, his dream dog is a German Wire-Haired Pointer. Yes, you will meet all of these dogs and more.
The artwork spans from comical to gorgeous. It includes sketches, oil paintings, and numerous watercolor washes over sketches. This book is a feast for artists... those inspiring and the pros alike. Nearly all the writing is in calligraphy and you can't help but feel that you're reading someone's personal illustrated diary. Dogs is simply a comforting book, and though it doesn't need to be read cover to cover, it is like a proceeding story of Poortvliet's up close experiences with dogs, his love for his own, and fun doggy tales.
Though not an instructional manual, I have gained some inspiration and important dog-owning tips through this book. It's endearing style lends to beautiful truths.
Being both a writer and an artist, I love this book's style! It has definitely inspired me with my own journalism and writing in general, as well as my paintings and even photography. It is definitely an intriguing book and one I believe even those who don't love dogs could admire.
While this book has its share of humor, I can assure you that it's not all lighthearted. It is Poortvliet's life story of dog ownership, so many puppies are brought into his life and many dogs pass away. Without sounding too harsh, I must say, it is part of life after all and to be expected. But, it doesn't make it easy! The author does not get too graphic with his paintings, but he does depict the deaths of our beloved pets.
As for other negatives, there are two different pages that I actually taped up (don't worry, I do not plan on getting rid of this book!). One is full of evolution and the other is a painting of two woman dressed scantily (they are wearing only undergarments). Both are really unnecessary. But, if you disregard these pages, it continues to be a wonderful book!
A nice aspect of this book is that the author loves all dogs... fat;thin, short;tall, young;old, purebred;mutt. He is also extremely realistic and practical. Two marks of a true dog lover and responsible dog owner!
I appreciate the following quote by the author:
'People sometimes have funny ideas about "animal love"; they think that excessive stuffing with cookies and such, or putting "nice things" around the cage has something to do with "animal love". Well, they should know that a parakeet much prefers a fellow sufferer in its cage to a load of those stupid plastic play things, and that, given the choice, this little terrier would rather be in a pigpen chasing rats than be perfumed and primped with curlers and brushes.'
As you can see, in a playful way, the author pinpoints parts of dog owning that should be reversed. He is very knowledgeable concerning dogs, yet, in a humble way.
I hope that you'll consider looking into this book and enjoy it as much as I have! On Amazon.com (though it's not sold through Amazon, I believe...), you can get it starting at $24.95.
I received my copy as a gift...and that really is the best way to get it!
©1983 (original) My copy is the 1996 edition
Editor: Joan E. Fisher
Calligraphy: Diane Lynch
Abradale Press, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers