Next time you visit School For The Dogs, take a few minutes to peruse the various drawings of dogs that newly festoon our walls. Appropriated from James Thurber’s wonderful line drawings of man and woman’s best friend, the drawings are done by artist, decorative painter, and dog aficionado Georgia Elrod.
James Thurber was a writer and cartoonist who was best known for his work in The New Yorker in the mid-1900s, and his short stories — most famously, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. An avid sketcher, Thurber penned several books of cartoons, and dogs were a favorite subject. He even drew them on the walls of The New Yorker; when the magazine eventually moved to new offices, they brought those particular walls with them.
Georgia has known SFTD co-owner and senior trainer Annie Grossman for more than thirty years — they met in Kindergarten. Both grew up in Soho lofts with artists for parents and dogs as companions. Early on, they shared a love of dogs. Georgia’s very first oil painting was of Annie walking a dog.
Still based in New York City, Georgia straddles two worlds as an artist. She exhibits her paintings in galleries from New York to Istanbul and also owns G. L Decorative Finishes, a custom decorative painting business that provides high-quality painting services. You can see her work at georgiaelrod.com and gldecorativefinishses.com
Who was your first dog? My first dog was Herb, a smooth collie mix we adopted from the North Shore Animal League when I was about five. He was a beauty, and full of energy when he was young. We called him my “furry brother.” We also had a series of cats, fish, a hamster and rabbit, and somehow we all got along well!
Do you have a favorite dog story? Hmmm…We got another dog toward the end of Herb’s life, when I was in high school. Bea was a sweet but sneaky standard poodle and she loved to eat underwear, lipstick, art supplies… among other unmentionable items. Too many stories for this blog!
Have you found places to put dog in your work both commercial and artistic? Dog imagery and dog murals of any kind are great especially for kid’s rooms.
What is it you like about Thurber’s dogs? They are hilarious, quirky drawings that capture a dog’s personality so well, using few lines. His marks are playful and various, free. Drawing is observation and perception, so its was fun to replicate his work; through doing this, one gets inside the artist’s head a little bit.