Here's My Dog, Harold

By, Jennet Inglis

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I feel lucky. I have often been graced with the charge, (the honor, really), of painting portraits of my friends, and my friend’s families. Those families are filled with life-partners, children, and also beloved animal companions.

Time and many generations have passed to change the face of our gay pride. Scanning through the centuries of those who have gone before us, we see that our culture’s pride has grown from private survival to public elation. The face of our pride has also evolved from public expressions of art and literature created by the privileged classes, to everyday portraits of our pride traveling to all corners of our world. In times past it seems only the privileged could afford to be proud of who they were, and only the privileged could, literally, afford to commission portraits of themselves and their loved ones. Time has changed all of this.

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For me, portrait commissions have everything to do with faces, pride, and time! Portrait paintings have more to do with time, than with the character and beauty of the subject. In my eyes, a painted portrait devotes itself to the pride of the individual subject captured in a timeless format. What I mean is this: pride points to the self-esteem one might have when deciding to have a portrait created. Timeless format refers specifically to how a painted portrait echoes an out-of-time admiration, love and devotion – a forever love that extends into the future beyond even the periphery of our own lives.

Concretely said: different from, (not better than), a photograph, it would be difficult to walk up to your portrait and say to yourself, or someone else, “Here ‘was my dog Harold.” Instead, your mind and heart would guide you to say to yourself, and others, “Here ‘is’ my dog Harold.”

Not better than a painted portrait, a photograph automatically navigates us to a specific age of the subject, a specific location where the photograph was taken, and the specific time when it was taken (year, day, time of day, etc.).

I am proud to be part of the generation that gave birth to what has become global gay-liberation. Our generation showed not so often the face of pride. The face of our early fight showed mostly rage, obstinacy, and determination. I don’t know many who congratulate themselves for being the ones who, in the beginning, shouldered the fight. I do know many who now fly free, whose self-esteem means they no longer feel pardoned for being who they are. Our tribe’s triumph is the miracle we sought. Our conquest is glorious. There is nothing I love more than being commissioned to paint our faces, our families, and our furry friends, each and every one blazoned with freedom, and pride.

My family and I live in Staunton, Virginia. Come visit us.

Jennet Inglis is an award winning artist whose work has been collected nationally and internationally. As a high-functioning autistic, Jennet’s passionate and rigorous study of science and nature evolved from an early age, as did her classical training in art. You can view her work on Facebook at Inglis Art. You can reach her at jennetinglis@gmail.com.