Monday, March 29, 2010

Max in South Africa

Max, 11 x 14" Acrylic on Ampersand Gessoboard
© 2010 Kathleen Coy

Once in a while, something comes along that touches you so deeply, you can't help but reach out. That's the story behind this painting...

I started a blog for my dog Cloud last year, after seeing some dog blogs and thinking how much fun it looked. Little did I know how much fun it really was! There's something so satisfyingly fun and silly about writing about life from your dog's point of view. (If you care to visit Cloud's blog, you can find it here.)

I was blown away to be so welcomed into the world of dog bloggers, of the friendships I've made, and the kindness of the "two-leggers" "moms" and "dads" behind the dog (and cat!) blogs. From the common ground of loving your pet enough to give them their own blog, they are always there for each other with kind words, encouragement, and humor. What a sense of community!

There was one blog in particular that stood out to me from the first moment I read it, and quickly became a favorite. Maxdog, a Golden Retriever in South Africa exemplified everything that is good and true. The kindness and devotion of his "mom" shone through every word and photo. He appointed himself "Official Tour Guide" of South Africa, and delights in sharing the beauty of his country with his blogging friends.

Max's "mom" Caryl writes in a way that speaks dearly to my heart. She says with words what I try to convey with my art...about love and connection. I always look forward to reading Max's blog, and always leave it feeling uplifted and even moved to happy tears.

Not long ago, Max received a frightening diagnosis, and his family were told there was nothing to be done. He was not expected to live much longer. My heart ached for Caryl, knowing how deep her connection is with Max, and since Max is so relatively young, to be so unprepared to loose him.

I knew I wanted to surprise her with a painting of her dear friend. I truly believe there is a "spark" of life, of that dog's spirit in each portrait, and is a way to keep a part of your dog with you always. I've felt this first hand with the portrait I painted of my dog Benny, who passed away last year. It is such a comfort to me, and I wanted to give that same feeling to Caryl, to return some of the joy I've gotten from her over the last year.

Max is dearly loved among his blogging friends, and I knew many of them were feeling the same longing to do something for Caryl, to help ease her pain. I asked another dear dog blog friend if she could "test the waters" for me, to see if there was interest among the dog bloggers in being a part of this gift. The response was overwhelming! I can't thank Khyra's "mom" Phyllis enough for organizing "The Max Project," as we lovingly called it.

I'm so humbled to have been able to provide an opportunity for Max's friends around the world to show how much they love him.

Caryl called me today from South Africa. What a joy to hear her voice, to laugh and talk and cry together. What a beautiful world we live in, what a global village!

You can visit Max's blog to see pictures of Caryl opening her gift, and Max with his portrait, and links to all his blog friends who contributed to The Max Project. You may want to have a cup of tea and plan to stay awhile, as you will probably fall in love with her blog just as I did...

Max continues to astonish his vet. His family and blog friends have been counting each "Day of Grace" with Max as he awakens each morning. Today is his 51st "Day of Grace."

Love one another...


NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! said...

I've lost track how many times I've 'leaked' today -

It has been such a great experience to be part of The Max Project -

From the moment you sent that first email I just KNEW it would be special -

It has so not let me down!

I'm very honoured to have been part of it -

As we shared on occasion it was a chance to show love and friendship -

Your MAXterpiece ROCKS!

I'm currently enjoying some AGJ as we term it and I've toasted everyone associated with making this dream a reality!

As Khyra would paw....

Khyra's Mom Phyll

Scout and Freyja said...

Oh, how I wish someone had contacted me because I would have so loved to contribute to Max's portrait along with the others.

Seems I'm always a day late and a dollar short☺

JacksDad said...

What a magnificent painting! You are a wonderful person!!

Stella said...

A great portrait of a great dog! Max and Caryl are such a wonderful team, and each day of Grace for Max just thrills me. Miracles happen every day and let one be Max's gift, that is my prayer.

Cheers and hugs,

Jo and Stella

Maxmom said...

Dearest Kathleen

It's early morning here in South Africa and I've not slept much whilst attempting to digest this incredible gift!!!

As I said to Phyllis (Khyra's mom), I've not descended from the "Clouds" yet!

I can't begin to express my gratitude to be on the receiving end of all this wonderful cyber-love and your incredible talent!

You have truly captured MAX and have converted a portrait to a living and breathing entity!

I am just so, so grateful!

Thank you to all the participants and all my blogging-buddies for your endless love!!!

This is simply another dimension...

With love and licks

Lisa Holtzman said...

What a wonderful portrait and beautiful story.

Unknown said...

Dear Kathleen, I finally found you after reading Max's blog today.
You are truly a wonderful person and artist. Thank you for making Maxmom so happy!

Tama-Chan, Benny, Vidock, Violette, Ollie, Heloise, Momo, Ryu said...

We are honoured to be part of this amazing project, and overwhelmed by the beauty of Max's portrait. Thank you for sharing your gift with all of us!

Anonymous said...

Ms. Kathleen,
What a gift you possess and how wonderful of you to share it with Ms. Caryl in such a memorable way. The Max portrait will be so cherished by her in the days to come; it will be a tangible remembrance of her beloved Max Dog. It is wonderful to have you amongst all of us DWBers. We regret that we were unaware of the Max Project, we'll have to berate our BBB (nestest blog buddy) Khyra and Ms. Phyllis for "forgeting" about us - how could they forget US?) Thank you for being who you are?

Cheryl, Indiana, Shingo and Molly said...

What a beautiful and loving gift for you to give. The painting is lovely too!

Woofs and Kisses!

♥I am Holly♥ said...

What an absolutely wonderful gift! The painting of Maxdog is so beautiful...just like Maxdog. I love it and know Max's mom is overjoyed! Debbie and Holly

Unknown said...

What an incredible gift, from an incredible group of people.

Noll's Nip said...


Unknown said...

As a small part of the Max Tour I was anxious to read your post. I have no more words regarding the Max project. I'm spent. Mission accomplished. You're Cloud's momma? I (heart) Cloud and can't get enough photos, but the painting on the sidebar is superb!

Unknown said...

This is a wonderful thing you have all done, and what a beautiful painting Kathleen, such a friendly character.

Rocky Creek Scotties and Rocky Creek Ramblings said...

What a beautiful painting and a touching post. We were sorry we could not have shared a part in it.

I'm going to be pointing out your website to my hubby - I think I already know what I want for Christmas!

Have a fantastic day.

Lynn (Rocky Creek Scottie Mom)

Pip said...

Beautiful post, stunning portrait.
Words fail me where your unabashed love for one another is concerned.
I try to explain it to my real-life friends, and they just don't get it.
There are a few sites to which I point my uncomprehending friends, when I finally accept my inability to describe it. Max is the first on the list.
Thank you for sharing your talent and your love.

ocmist said...

You've truly captured the love of Max and Caryl in this Masterpiece! I, too, wish we'd been able to help. Khyra and her Mom have so much love in them, as do Mango and so many others. It is a real honor to have a chance to know and be their friends.

A gift like this will continue to shower love for many years! Linda (Grammy) and the Country Corgis.

D.K. Wall said...

It was an absolute joy to be such a small part of this "conspiracy" We were so thrilled when we saw the email that "Max" had been delivered.

Julia Guthrie said...

Oh Kat, what a beautiful portrait...& what a touching story!!
Isn't it the best thing in the world to know that a piece of art can bring so much joy to someone :)
You're awesome hon xxxx

Donna said...

Lovely painting. :) Great work.

Dean Grey said...


This post made me smile and cry at the same time.

How nice of you and the other bloggers to band together and do such a thing!

Your portrait turned out beautifully! Max is clearly a gentle soul and you captured that in your painting of him.

(((HUGS))) to you, Max, and Caryl!


Fossfor said...

this is a lovely portrait, and the best gift you could give someone who loves their pet so much.

Cocorue said...

what a beautiful gesture and we must let our friend Kyra know how we feel about being 'left out' BOL....naughty naughty Kyra for forgetting us Bol!!!

i'm sure Maxmum is over the moon as it's such a lovely keepsake and you are soooo talented

pee ess: we're sorry we're late as our assistant was 'Out', totally Out!

Scout and Freyja said...

How would I go about getting a print of Max's portrait as a keepsake?

Paxton said...

Dear Kathleen - it is hard to type when your eyes are swelling with unspilt tears but they are happy tears - not only for your kindness and generousity but also for Max and Caryl. The world is really small when you think about it and it is very easy to bring people together from across the globe if it for a good reason. It shows that there is still hope for mankind - you are proof thereof. MaxDog and MaxMom have krept into the hearts of many people and I believe there are no limitations to which we will go to show support, cheer, happiness and sadness to someone that we've never met in person but has become a special friend. I applaud you for what you've done for MaxMom!

Kathleen Coy said...

Thank you friends, for your sweet comments. They mean the world to me.


Sunny,Scooter, (sometimes Jamie) said...

It is beautiful. Khyra's mom has several bloggers ready to "flog" her for forgetting to let us in on it. Oh PHYLLISS!!!!!!!! ;} it is gorgeous and I love Max and his wonderful mom too!

Golden Woofs! SUGAR said...

Woof! Woof! LOVELY painting of MAX. WONDERFUL!!! Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

Piappies World said...

This is a wonderful work of art and with all the love that was poured into this for Max, it is even more special. We really admire you talent.

-Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai, Wai-Max & the Piappies

Anonymous said...

Is very very beautiful (:

Unknown said...

So... I'm completely crying. I got my very first golden for my 17th birthday from my then boyfriend, now husband. He was the best dog EVER... and on May 17, 2010 just 3 days before his 15th birthday... he took his forever nap.

Your painting captures the life and the love of a golden....

absolutely heartwarming.