Wyeth & Watson-Studio Dogs

Meet Wyeth and Watson, Justin Vining’s black and brown Labs, in the Harrison Center’s 4th installment of Studio Dogs.

How did your dogs get their names?

Wyeth was named after rural-realism painter Andrew Wyeth. His paintings are sometimes so realistic that they can be mistaken for photographs. Andrew Wyeth is a big inspiration for Vining, and has greatly influenced his work. Watson was named after Doctor John Watson-- partner of the great Sherlock Holmes--by Vining’s wife. She is a fan of the books.

Why do you bring your dogs to the studio?

Studio time is a great chance for Wyeth and Watson to get out of the house and socialize. There are new smells, sights, and people to stimulate their minds.

Do you think your dogs affect your creative process?

Yes. When Vining and his wife first moved to Fall Creek Place, they would take their dogs on walks around the neighborhood and look at the houses. Vining then began to photograph different parts of the neighborhood, and used them as a reference for a series of paintings about his neighborhood. Before that series, Vining’s paintings had a more whimsical style to them. It was this series of Fall Creek Place paintings that became the precursor for his current, more realistic style.

Do your dogs enjoy studio time?

Absolutely. Watson even perks up every time he hears the words “art studio”. It seem that these boys just love running around and seeing other artists.

Best Studio Dog moment?

One time, late at night, Vining was working in his studio, and he had barricaded the upstairs of the building so that the dogs could roam around. All of a sudden, one of his dogs started barking, and soon the other joined in. His first thought was that someone had broken into the building. So, he slowly crept out of his space to see what the dogs were barking at. Vining found Wyeth and Watson barking at loud as they could at a taxidermied deer that Kipp Normand was storing in the hallway. It was a very memorable experience. (click on the link below to see it!)

Kipp's Deer

Justin Vining is an observational plein air oil painter, meaning that he paints traditional landscapes on site. He has been at the Harrison Center for 2 years, and most days you can find him in his upstairs studio. This summer he will be working on a 20ft by 40ft painting for Butler University, and we are very excited to see it.  

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