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On the pastel, December Sunset, by Rosalind Trigg

The barren birches, beeches, alders and oaks rising out of the fallen snow present a study of gray variations that is enhanced by the late sun’s lengthening shadows. The cream and orange dog casts its own moving shades amidst the trees, but his movement does not unsettle the monochromatic symmetry. He emerges into a field where the sun is reflected upon the snow in ice blue slivers and the orange of his coat becomes a blaze of gold refraction.

You have gone afield in mid-December with no expectations of bagging game. The grouse will burrow into the snow and not be easily produced despite your confidence in your dog’s nose. You’ve remained there despite the growing cold of the late afternoon, not because you expect a point around the next bend, but because the dog has no quit in him, and you cannot disappoint him with your own weakness. The dog will ultimately best you, but you are not prepared to concede just yet, although you’re impatient for the sun to go down.

Hunting through the snow is wearying as age intrudes upon the vigor of your youth. The dog will keep you young, but for how much longer? Follow him and find out. Was there a snow covered hill that you wouldn’t climb before? The dog will lead you over; and he commands that you follow.

So you do, and you’re glad that he will wait for you. That as far as he might range, bounding deer like as if the snow posed no hindrance, he’ll return to check your progress, urging you, “Come on. There are birds here. I’ll find them for you. Follow me.” And, you do. And, it doesn’t matter whether there are birds to be found, it is his companionship that you have come for, and in that, he will not let you down.

I am in the December of my age. You’ve probably heard me say that before. But, I’ve found at least a couple of more years that I didn’t know that I had in this here dog of mine, and a world of which I had only an inkling, like the snow that I had only seen as white before, and the barren trees that I had only seen as gray; and, I might be becoming gray myself, except that my dog says, “Not yet you don’t,” and I follow. Good dog.

Ros Trigg adds: The Spinone in this pastel is Ginevra dell’Adige, one of two magnificent Spinoni we got in Italy from Dr. Poli in 1997. We lived in Tuscany for three years, and I returned in 2000 to go to the Spinone National and to study with several painters in Livorno. Ginevra (we called her Girasole) worked the fields like a master weaver. You can see another Spinone piece on Rosalind Trigg FB page.

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