Thursday, June 24, 2010

Harry: Dog with Big Eyes

When I was a little girl my grandparents gave me a set of prints for my bedroom. They were really popular at the time, by Keane or Gig or Bucky or one of those other painters who painted dogs, cats, children and other household pets with pitiful big eyes. The kind of thing you might see in old Brady Bunch or Family Affair episodes. There were two: A cat in an alley with a trashcan and a fish skeleton. It was skinny and starving. A dog tied to a chain link fence that was also skinny and starving. At night when I was trying to fall asleep I would lay in bed and look at them and cry. If I awoke in the middle of the night, I would try to keep my eyes closed so I wouldn't have to see them. One night my mom came in and I was crying. She looked at the pictures, took them down, and I never saw them again. Sadly, I couldn't find images of my original pictures, so I stole these off the interweb. They'll give you an idea.

Here I am an adult with my first rescue dog. He was seriously abused and it's hard work to rehabilitate him. Serena and I take pleasure whenever he does something a regular house dog would do, even if it's bad--like steal a piece of popcorn off the floor or squirrel away a pair of underwear. I can't help but wonder if I didn't grow up and love animals just to rectify the wrong I saw in those paintings. Also I have to ask, What were people thinking in the 70s?

10 comments:

Serena said...

I can't believe how much they look like Harry! Genius post.

Manjushri's Blade said...

I remember those very prints. Our sensibilities have changed so much over the decades I've been alive. So much so that I'd like to punch Sarah McLachlan in the face some days.

Terri said...

I'm glad we're past the sad animals=children phase. Remember those Pound Puppies? But perhaps it teaches compassion. I'm not sure. Modern parents wouldn't never buy pictures like this for their children.It would be considered cruel. But weren't these pictures also on t-shirts as well? Funny how our sensibilities change. I wonder what future generations will think of Bratz.

runningtindera said...

you know i have a copy of that cat you with the empty can and ive been wondering all my life who painted it. my dad gave it to me when i was a little girl and its still in my room. its so alive yet sad. illpost a photo of it and send you the link. im so glad i found your post because ive been figuring out who made these beautiful paintings.

Anonymous said...

I remember those pictures. I am 47 years old now and I was around 12 or 14 years of age I guess. I loved those pictures. I took it as showing empathy and trying to show the world what NOT to do. That is the way I perceived it as a young girl. I don't think the painting's were trying to be morbid, they were trying to convey a message of the real world. Those painting's made you feel the pain and suffering that defenseless animals endure. My hat is off to those artists'- to the people who know what this means.

Terri said...

I do agree with you. I don't really think the artists were being morbid. However, as a little girl I always felt helpless in the face of these images. Though I do have both a rescue dog and a rescue, cat. Perhaps they did do their work afterall.

Anonymous said...

I am now 50, in my son's room hangs my dog picture like shown above, got it when i was around 8 or 9....and all my life i have rescued animals. It's both a reminder of my childhood and early start for love of animals. thx for posting, sandra of sugar land texas

Terri said...

Sandra, it's funny how these things stick with us. I really do think my love of rescue animals comes from these sad pictures. Perhaps they were for good afterall.

nancy dicke said...

Awe, I had those same paintings. They do leave a mark on you. I am going to teach a 6th grade class next week on how to do "Big Eyes" Thank for rescuing your pup Harry Nancy Dicke Scottsdale Az

Terri said...

Nancy, so sweet of you to comment on the post. I have such mixed feelings about these. I wonder what 6th graders will think of this kind of painting. It they seem much too sad for today's youngsters.