A photographer with a painter’s eye

It’s no surprise that Kerry Jordan cites the landscape painters John Constable & J.M.W. Turner as the inspiration for her style of photography. Her stunning canine photographic images ooze with warm muted tones and a passion for not only the dogs she captures, but the landscapes in which she places her subjects.

 

I’ve been an admirer of Kerry’s work for some time now and so jumped at the opportunity to visit her when she kindly agreed to an interview.  As we sit around her kitchen table, in her beautiful Surrey home that she shares with her husband, Alex and their five gorgeous Whippets, Kerry tells me she feels amazingly fortunate to be doing something that combines all of her life long passions … enjoying the outdoors, being creative and of course dogs.

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One of Kerry’s stunning dog portraits
Kerry, Bev & hounds
Kerry (left) with some of her hounds and me with Ralph on my lap

Kerry hasn’t always been a dog photographer, in fact she started out working in the City as a PA and subsequently, as a self taught photographer learnt her craft in the tough world of wedding photography.  Not an easy job most would admit and Kerry soon realised that she preferred the more intimate and creative aspects of this job rather than the big group wedding party shots; and so moved into the direction of family portraiture.  By this time Kerry had two Whippets in her life and started photographing her hounds and those of her friends; demand for her dog portraiture blossomed and ‘Whippet Snippets was born.  Establishing her credentials as a top dog photographer, in 2014, when one of her images was placed in the finals of “Dog Photographer of the Year”

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Kerry’s photo that was placed in the “Dog Photographer of the Year” competition

Today Kerry still offers family portraiture through her brand “Boo Face” and dog portraiture via “Whippet Snippets”, but it is the dog photography that constitutes 85% of her work; and despite the name, her dog portraits aren’t exclusive to Whippets or Sighthounds, Kerry is happy to, and accomplished at, photographing all breeds.  It is perhaps partly due to this brand confusion that Kerry has recently decided to create an umbrella brand “Fur and Fables” to encapsulate all of her photographic work and other business activities under one roof.  Many of these areas overlap with clients and collaborators being part of the same community; which has lead Kerry to create this most beautiful mission statement or summary of what she is about …

‘If you are of ferns & forest & sandy toes,

If you are of breezy days & golden skies,

If you are of Fur & Fables

Whether 4 feet or 2

We should meet, because I’m just like you.”

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Above Kerry’s new umbrella brand “Fur & Fables” and below some examples of Kerry’s work to illustrate that she does photograph all breeds not just sighthounds!

Kerry is certainly not a photographer content to sit back on her laurels, she is keen not only to share her passion with others but also support those on their own small business journey.  In addition to offering commissioned shoots, Kerry also offers product shots and social media support for other companies in the dog business and creative communities.  If she finds a product she loves and believes in, she will happily champion the brand and become a brand ambassador.  And for the amateur dog photographers amongst us, wanting to improve our own snaps of our furry friends, Kerry has created an online dog photography course, brilliantly named Furdography.

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Kerry’s online dog photography course

The “Fur and Fables” website is due to launch before the end of this year, but Kerry isn’t content to stop there.  She is already planning future initiatives, which may include travelling further afield by offering mini shoot roadshows around the UK and even overseas photo shoots.

Whilst visiting Kerry, I took the opportunity to experience one of her mini shoots for my hound Ralph.  Watch out for a follow up blog on this shoot coming soon, but suffice to say it was an amazing experience and Ralph absolutely loved being a model for the day!  I think Kerry was a bit smitten by Ralph but then I think Kerry falls in love with all of her subjects, that’s how she manages to produce such wonderful images with such depth of soul and feeling.

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Ralph captured by Kerry

Kerry’s work can be viewed on her website www.whippetsnippets.co.uk, on Instagram and on Facebook

Wonderful Woofers by Samantha Barnes

Let’s be honest if you were recuperating after breaking your arm, drawing would not be the first thing most of us would think to do to alleviate the boredom.  But this is precisely what artist Samantha Barnes did when she found herself incapacitated with a fractured right arm.  This “lucky break” (pardon the pun) led to her selling her first series of ink drawings of dogs to a print shop in the Kings Road, Chelsea back in the 1990’s.  Although Samantha had an arts background, having graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with a degree in printed textiles, she had spent her first working years in London employed in a series of marketing and events management jobs, before this rekindling of her passion for drawing.   

Fast forward 20 years and Samantha, who has had a varied and successful career as both a gallery owner and an artist, can currently be found creating beautiful pieces of art from her idyllic studio The Art Retreat in Woodbridge, Suffolk. Today dogs aren’t Samantha’s only subject matter, but it was her dog art that caught my attention at the recent Art For Cure exhibition at Glemham Hall.  Her delicate simple line prints of Lurchers, which I later discovered are created using a drypoint print making technique, stopped me in my tracks and I had to find out more. 

I therefore arranged to visit Samantha at her Woodbridge studio, where she is currently busy preparing for her her solo exhibition, to be held at The Art Retreat, on the weekend of 16th & 17th June.  Both Samantha and her adorable Cocker Spaniel, Barney, gave me a warm welcome and we sat chatting in her friends’ garden, in which The Art Retreat is situated. It appears that Barney can take the credit for this wonderful workspace, since it was after getting to know the owners of 44 chapel Street through dog walking, that they offered Samantha use of this fabulous building at the end of their garden!  A garden, Samantha and Barney get to share with the owners’ beautiful hairy Lurcher Rex and some chickens!

Samantha outside The Retreat with Rex & Barney
Samantha outside The Retreat with Rex & Barney

Lurchers were the subject of the print I first saw at Glemham Hall, which Samantha explained to me is created using a drypoint print making technique.  A technique that dates back to the 15th Century, is created by drawing with sharp implement directly onto a copper plate, the ink is then applied and wiped off so that the ink remaining in the incisions creates the distinctive line on the paper.  Owing to the delicate nature of the incision in the plate, only a small edition of prints can be created from the one plate.  Samantha creates just 12 prints from each plate, and each of these are slightly different and unique, due to the varying ways the ink can be wiped from the plate.

 

Aside from the drypoint prints, Samantha also paints the most gorgeous dog portraits, in an unfussy style that is bold, full of energy and truly reflects the character of each individual dog.  Her textile roots show through in her confident and clever use of colour and this joyous, colourful vitality is also evident in Samantha’s non dog paintings, which often depict public places and landscapes in and around Suffolk.  Created mainly in acrylics, Samantha’s paintings are happiness on a canvas, and as Samantha says on her own website … “I am an artist that makes paintings, drawings and prints directly from my tummy, not my head”.

Buddy The Cocker Spaniel
Buddy the Cocker Spaniel

Samantha is available for dog portrait commissions and can be contacted via www.samanthabarnes.com or visit her Facebook page ipaintdogs for more information. 

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Samantha in her studio

And don’t forget if you can get to Suffolk, Samantha’s artwork will be on display at The Art Retreat (in the garden of) 44 Chapel St. Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 4NF on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June.

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The Dog Show

If you love dogs, you’ll love this open house exhibition

An exhibition where, not only can you bring along your dog, but they are treated like a VIP guest is always going to be a winner; but add to that the work of terrific artist such as Sally Muir, Joanna Osborne and Lorraine Corrigan to name just three, then you you cannot fail to be wowed and impressed by The Dog Show, part of the Brighton Artists Open Houses and Festival. 

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Sally Muir & Joanna Osborne

Consisting of over 200 pieces of art, solely featuring dogs as the subject matter, The Dog Show is the brainchild of Joanna Osborne, in whose beautiful Grade II listed home the exhibition is hosted.  Every detail of this exhibition has been lovingly thought through, from the trail of pavement chalk dogs leading to No 33 Sillwood, to the informative and cleanly designed website www.thedogshowbrighton.com, through to the welcoming touches of homemade cakes and dog treats on offer.  There is also an inventive and fun programme of events taking place during the course of the show that include … On the Spot Dog Drawing by the very talented Sally Muir … Alma Haser’s unique pop up Dog Photobooth and even …a real Dog Show, where the winning dog has the honour of being sketched by Sally Muir.

All these fun initiatives do not detract from the quality of artwork on display from some familiar  and not so familiar artists working in this genre.  Sally Muir, possibly the best known artist exhibiting, has a large collection of paintings and drawings on display, including a wonderful collection of smaller framed potato print studies.  As ever, all of Sally’s work looks so effortless and yet captures the personality of each and every dog with such insight and passion for her subjects.  Ian Mowforth’s striking Lino cut prints are very impressive and also show an artist very much in tune with his subject matter.  No wonder one of his dog Lino cut prints was selected for the RA Summer Exhibition last year.  Another artist celebrating our unique relationship with dogs is Debbie Kendall, of the Enlightened Hound.  Debbie uses Lino cuts and hand-drawn lettering to make vintage inspired prints for dog lovers.  We just loved her quirky map showing the dogs of the British Isles. 

 

In addition to the paintings and prints adorning the walls there is also a superb array of 3D artwork on display.  Joanna Osborne’s clay sculptures are sublime, she utilises the natural properties of the clay to add personality and a tenderness to her subjects.  Lorraine Corrigan’s elegant paper & wire sculptures make a delicate but commanding presence. Whilst Holy Smoke artist, Helen Thompson’s, unusual mix of wire and layering of textiles and thread creates a most atmospheric and haunting dog sculpture that reflects the fragility and beauty of our canine friends.

Robin Parker’s elegant wire sculptures are also very striking.  Like loose sketches come to life, they are fluid, unfussy yet show such knowledge of the canine form.  Also of note are the simple wire dog sculptures by Bridget Baker, who apparently only started making her wire animals after she retired following an inspiring visit to an Alexander Calder exhibition.  With the minimal amount of wire work Bridget manages to capture great character in her subjects.  Working on a similar scale are the fun Felted Fido dogs, created by Dee McCracken using a needle-felting technique.  Dee manages to put so much intimate detail into these felted dogs that they look truly lifelike.

I cannot recommend The Dog Show  highly enough, there is something for everyone’s pocket, with reasonably priced artwork and a selection of framed originals and unframed prints; not to mention an assortment of greeting cards and prints of the fabulous show poster available to buy.

The Dog Show Poster

The Dog Show is on every weekend in May, so if you are mad about dogs and passionate about art, then don’t miss this exhibition.  And remember your dog is welcome too!  Ralph loved it.

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Ralph just loved visiting The Dog Show