I created Duck Hunt to salute the special place held by a good dog in a duck hunter’s life: if you know a duck hunter, you know that the teamwork hunter and dog have together creates a bond that extends far beyond the hunt.
The original Duck Hunt painting was made for a collector who wanted a still life to reflect his love of the sport. He had just lost his beloved hunting dog, so I incorporated this joyful 1960s toy with two racing retrievers to honor the life of his four-footed friend. I love how joyful the pups look as they race out to fetch their master’s waterfowl (The duck decoy remains aloof, however.)
This image is all about drama! I used a spotlight positioned from the lower left to cast sharp shadows on the background, tool box, and shelf. With this effect, I feel like the shadows become subjects of the painting, too, adding to the image’s visual interest.
You can watch me working on the original painting for Duck Hunt in my recent Facebook video:
As I mentioned earlier, the toy with the black lab and golden retriever is from the 60s - all wood, with painted details. As you pull the toy, one dog lifts up while the other drops down. It makes for a happy scene to see them cavort across the floor.
The decoy is an antique, not a replica. It came from one of my favorite antique stores and has made an appearance in several of my duck-themed paintings, including one of my very first paintings with a pun in the theme, Duck Tape. The toolbox - also an oft-featured item in my work - was a gift from a friend who rescued it from a yard sale and brought it to me.