|This watercolour painting is without a doubt a masterpiece
of the Dog Museum. It shows pets plotting in a hunter's interior,
painted against the light with a luxury of amazing details. A dog
portrait painted on commission, the artist tells you the story of
this painting and its presentation to the Queen.
It was the varnishing day at Fabienne's gallery in Knokke, the very
chic seaside resort in Belgium . Catherine, Fabienne's best friend
gave me a commission to paint her Jack Russell terrier in the same
spirit as "fine-mouche",
the fisherman's Jack. You can see the link to this picture: I had
hung the previous painting on the wall. One of these hidden winks
that I love to hide in my paintings.
Alain, Catherine's husband confirmed this commission, but under one
condition: he also wanted his labrador retriever in the picture. He
wanted his dog, like he used to see him in evening twilight, when,
sitting beside his master in the marsh, the labrador followed the
ducks in the sky. I always had labradors, so I knew perfectly what
he was talking about.
Well ! It 's not exactly what I ended up painting or the ducks were
flying really low .
Alain is passionate about hunting and shooting. So I staged his riding
equipment on the right of the window and his rifles and guns on the
left side. Dont you see them ?
Nevermind ! So I 'm sure he will give me a commission for a second
painting. If you add too many objects on the same painting, you can't
read anything. On the photos, I had riding boots beside the labrador.
I didn't paint them, because it was too difficult to understand the
original image, between the black labrador, the black coat of the
Jack Russell and the black boots.
|| The hidden signature
Did you see where I hid my signature ?
I 'm rather proud of this palette and brushes curved in the wood.
I wrote "Cyrille Jubert (it'sme !) pinxit". It means "painted
it" in latin.
You were null in latin ? me too. All my childhood, I had private courses
with the parish priest each week, inhaling incense, naphthalene and
Can you imagine a more delicious perfume ?
I was not supposed to paint the cat, but the three pets were such
friends, always playing together, that I thought I couldn't paint
the picture without him. I show you below all the details of this
painting and If you follow the story, scrolling down, you will see
that, like the three Musketeers, they are four in this plot.
||Details of the labrador
and the Jack Russell
If you already tried to take a photo of your
black Labrador, you know it's nearly impossible. This fur seems to
absorb the light. On the photo, you can hardly see where the dog's
eyes are. You can imagine the poor quality of the original photo of
this black labrador against the light of the window on a very sunny
day. I had a really bad time trying to re-invent his face and expression.
Do you think this big teddy-bear will follow the young foolish Jack
Russell in his naughty plans ?
Slide you mouse on his nose. Here is the
Jack Russell terrier.
Looking at this picture, you can imagine that on the photo, the
first thing that you could see was his ass hole (excuse my poor
English, milady, I dont have a romantic periphrasis to describe
it). Catherine asked me to turn her dog so he would face the Labrador
.. and the camera. It's true that in a theatre an actor never shows
his "back" to the public.
But ! but a dog speaks with his whole body and even if my fan-club
thinks ... no ... even if my fanclub knows that I am a genius ;-)
it would have been really difficult to imagine the same attitude
from a different angle. So I just decided to practice an "anusectomy".
And it worked ! I could have been a great surgeon !
|It reminds me of a meeting in 99. I was exhibiting
in a very Parisian salon. The manager of a needle work company came to admire
my paintings and proposed to use my first Jack Russell 's portrait on his
tapestries, but he wanted me to paint it again without a sex.
- "You know, you cannot ask a lady to spend hours embroiding with thousand
of knot stitches the dog's sex" ..
It seemed like a good reason. lol .. but I didn't follow that scent !
||The cat and the evil
This is my first cat portrait. The skeleton,
the fur, the eyes, cats are so different ! I was so anxious that I
first painted the cat alone on a different sheet of paper. My first
sketch is even nicer than this one, more free and artful. I couldn't
show it here. All the dogs would have left their frame to hunt the
cat. Could you imagine the mess ?
A nightmare for the museum's curator !
This one is cool too ! The sharp light in the fur with this dark background
helps a lot. Before you slide your mouse over the cat's moustaches,
take an admiring look at the copper of this hunting horn and the velvet
of the gilet.
Do you see the reflections on the pearly inlaid work? Don't ask me
how many weeks I spent on this painting, when you love, you don't
The evil genius under the seat is really part of the plot. You could
nearly hear his cavernous voice. As you are looking at these details,
have a closer look at the wood of the chair. That's the magic of wet
on wet watercolor. Using pigments that won't melt and give a uniform
color. You can realize gnarl truer than in real life. At the exact
opposite, the ebony had to be as dense as possible to absorb all the
light, and that is only possible in dry on dry watercolour.
||The Queen and I
Nobody is perfect !
My aunt Elisabeth is the Princess de Caraman - Princess de Chimay.
When I came back from the "Belgium Watercolor Biennal" in
Namur , where I was exhibiting, I called my aunt to visit her in Chimay.
After lunch, I told her that I would be very happy if she could manage
a meeting between the Belgium Royal family and I, so they could view
" But of course", she said, "Her Majesty, the Queen
Fabiola is coming here next week for our charity Gala. Come back,
with your pictures and we shall organize a private rendez-vous."
|It is written in the Holy Bible: "Knock at
the door and someone will open it". It was as simple as that.
My paintings were hung in the drawing room and I met Her Majesty. She was
absolutely delightful and charming. When she speaks about her passion, she
has such sparkling eyes, that she looks like a teenager. She is really charming
I had been told that I had to speak to her in the third person. You can
try, it's not only difficult, it's nearly impossible.
"Does Her Majesty, paint herself ?" "I would be happy to
show to Her Majesty ... bla bla bla"
I had a VERY hard time with that.
I started my sentenses with "Your Majesty".... but if you start
a sentence like this, you follow with "you" and "your"...
and you are all wrong !
But Her Majesty was very helpful and didn't mind my protocole mistakes.
She were very talkative and told me I should paint donkeys. So when I came
back home, I sent her a thank you letter with a little sketch showing me
at the black board (like here) with a school donkey's bonnet.
Did I tell you I intend to become the Winterhalter* of the Gotha's kennel
For our American or Australian friends, let me remind you that Winterhalter
1805-1873 was the official painter of Napoleon III, painting the empress
and her friends with great talent. I will be glad to paint Queen Elisabeth's
pets ... Kings and Queens are not so many, but they could be interesting
clients ... Will you believe me, if I tell you that each year I send them
an invitation to my exhibitions ? It only costs me a stamp ... doesn't it
"Never without me" ... the stag hunter 's dog
a new masterpiece ?