wilf & digby

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wilf & Digby - gouache on water colour paper - commission for Christmas card - Susan Black

Love is patient

French farmer
(89 years young)

A few months ago Angus of the blog Wilf & Digby contacted me asking if he could commission me to do a portrait of the "boyz" W & D, brothers, PONs (Polish Lowland Sheepdogs) for their (he and his wife's) 2011 Christmas card. To say I was thrilled & honoured to be asked would be a big ol' understatement.

I'd recently being completely captivated & tres inspired by the quirky, monotone, watery works of Bella Foster so after a flurry of emails back and forth with a collection of favourite photos (for reference) attached of the boyz and their beautiful surroundings Angus & I agreed on both the style and composition. It would be the boys, sitting in the garden together gazing up into a clear, star filled Christmas sky, the olive branch a shout out to their days together living in Italy and a reminder of the spirit of peace & goodwill ... and of course of that crazy big ol' love. Dog love.

Digby sadly is now in dog heaven roaming happily, we suspect, with some of my Gang - Emma Jane, Jake & sweet Piper Belle. Wilf stoically carries on, now battling his own terminal diagnosis, his days here extended by daily PON adventures including gifts of croissants, bites of paté & long sauntering strolls in the beautiful French countryside with Angus constantly by his side.

Sleep til you're hungry.
Eat til you're sleepy.


From Angus's blog Wilf & Digby

Late 2004. After eight months of solid rain we sold the house in Scotland and moved to the warmth and scents of southern Europe. Our companions on the journey two very lively Polish Lowland Sheepdog brothers - Wilf and Digby - otherwise known as the 'boyz'. Fluffy, patient and comical travel companions. Forever attracting laughter and new friends . After a year spent looking in Provence we moved to Italy to restore a hilltop Roman watchtower in Umbria. Somethings are meant not to be. Following a rather unpleasantly violent 'housejacking' (the third in our little village) complete with fractured skulls, machine guns and masked intruders we left Italy in October 2009 for new adventures. This time in the gentle rolling countryside of south west France . We are now getting to grips with a large and rickety old farmhouse. Life after the violence of Italy has taken on a new gentler and more carefree tempo. Digby passed on from tick bourne piroplasmosis in May last year but his brother, despite being diagnosed with cancer and having become blind , is soldiering on. This blog records his remaining time with us .

Thank you Angus, Wilf & Digby for such a wonderful project !


  1. Love the boyz.

    “Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”
    ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  2. The card made me cry from its sheer beauty. Then the post made me cry - for these dogs and this family... if there is a heaven, it's especially for dogs.

    Lovely, lovely, lovely card.

  3. Oh so very very touching....excellent work Susan. Tail wags. ~moose

  4. I love that blog, very much, and have always enjoyed reading it, since you put me on to it. The picture is perfection and the card will be treasured by all its recipients. You're brilliant! :-)

  5. Love that card - it is perfect Susan. I would love to read Angus' blog but the subject matter is too heartrending thinking of my recent loss of Roby. take care XO Joni

  6. Absolutely lovely in design and sentiment.

  7. What a wonderful vision of two friends in Susan's patchwork world. Star-filled skies are reminders of how much exists outside and beyond us, unimaginably large, engulfing but not separate. This card will be a blessing to all who understand it.

    A nod to Angus, the font, the dogs.

  8. I am so happy seeing this - beautiful job for a wonderful dog family :)

  9. We also follow Wilf's blog, and can only dream of being a recipient of such a beautiful card.

  10. Also a follower of the boyz blog for years and a comment about the christmas card led me here to you. It's beautiful...takes my breath away. Lovely work Susan.

  11. What a wonderful story you've told with your art!

  12. We've just come over from Wilfs blog. JackDaddy said it right .

  13. Susan, this card feels full of love for Wilf and Digby and I love it. A lovely start to my day at the computer.

  14. Us too, two wire-haired fox terriers enamored of Wilf and Digby's blog, with all Angis and the font's shared details of life in "france profonde."

    But since we're here, we also have to tell you that we (or at least our humans) love your part of the world, having spent time in Halifax and Lunenerg and other spots in between.

    And your blog is inspiring. So please come visit and we'll be back too.

    Wirey woofs,

    Jake and Just Harry (and our Mom, Joan)

  15. Susan, I just came from Angus' blog and saw his post about the card you drew for him and his wife. ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR in it's beautiful simplicity!!! So gorgeous and conveying the most powerful message! What an AWESOME ARTIST you are!!! While my life has me overwhelmed these days and I don't get over here to your blog as often as I would like, I STILL miss reading your daily missives and seeing what sweet things flow from your pens and via your camera lens.
    You are, without a doubt, my FAVORITE CANADIAN!!!


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