July 28, 2009

Rewind Wednesday & Pet Parade double feature

Welcome to another Rewind Wednesday, where we re-visit one of our favourite archived posts. This week, I’m also participating in Gayle’s Pet Parade over at Planet M Files. It’s a Rewind Wednesday & Pet Parade double feature :-)

pet parade rewind button

If you’d like to participate in Rewind Wednesday, add the link to your post using Mister Linky at the end of this post.

As I’ve mentioned before, we have three dogs — Kylie the Siberian Husky, Squirt the Black Lab, and Jackson the Catahoula Leopard Dog. We also had the most amazing dog for a couple of years, Carbo the mutt. He was the sweetest dog, and had the most amazing doggie ears ever…

C sofa

All our dogs are rescues — Kylie from owners who couldn’t keep her anymore, Squirt from the Ottawa Humane Society, and Jackson from Catahoula Rescue. Carbo came to us from my brother and sister-in-law (they adopted him from a shelter in Pittsburgh).

I’m a big supporter of adopting shelter animals. Which is one reason why one of my favourite artists is Ron Burns. He paints amazingly colorful pictures of dogs and cats, and most of his models are shelter animals. Ron also does a huge amount of work to help abandoned pets, and donates a portion of proceeds from his paintings to shelters. He’s also the Artist in Residence for the Humane Society of the United States.

This was originally a Hooked on Fridays, post, because I’m hooked on Ron Burns…

divider line 2 meet ron burns title

ron A few years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to her favourite artist, Ron Burns. She’s a HUGE animal-lover, so it was no surprise that her favourite artist paints pictures of… animals!!

lifes ruff She gave me two of Ron’s prints, Toby and Squirt. They were all framed up and ready to go. I hung them above the fireplace, which is straight ahead of you when you walk in the front door of our house. I think they’re the perfect welcome to friends who come to visit — although our own dogs do a pretty good job of rolling out the welcome mat themselves!! :-)

toby squirt

Don’t you love their big eyes and the bright colours?? :-) They have so much character and personality. Read on to find out what inspires Ron to create his wonderful paintings…

It all began with Rufus…

ron and rufusIn Ron’s words… Once upon a sunny day, I found a dog abandoned on a lonely Sedona ranch. This dog was a playful puppy that saw me and instantly knew he could realize his life’s purpose – to inspire and ultimately save me. My wife Buff and I had never shared our lives with a male dog before, but this goofy dufus easily won us over and we called him Rufus.

While secluded in our Sedona get-away, I was surrounded by traditional Southwest inspiration, but nothing filled my heart. Until that is… I looked down at my sweet new puppy Rufus. As I looked down at him, I thought, “If I can transform onto canvas the feeling I get from looking into the eyes of this pup, I think I may have something.” It turns out that I did find something special that day, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

And so began Ron’s passion — painting dogs (and cats too).

Ron created his first painting of Rufus about 18 years ago. Then he started painting dogs and cats that he found at animal shelters. Ron is a huge supporter of shelter animals. He has contributed his time and talent, as well as a portion of sales from all his paintings to help shelter animals. He’s the Artist in Residence for the The Humane Society of the United States, and recently painted a series of murals at the new Humane Society of Silicon Valley

mural 3

How cute is this guy with the dribbling tongue?!

mural 2 mural 1

The Interview…

I was thrilled and honoured when Ron agreed to do an interview with me. It’s given me the chance to learn more about Ron, and to introduce him and his fantastic artwork to you…

Your paintings are so vibrant and colourful. Do you have a favourite colour and why is it your favourite?

I don’t have a favorite color. However, I use red a lot as an undercoat because it allows me to push or pull other colors that I lay on top. It also vibrates with almost every other color I use.


How has your style evolved over the course of your painting career?

I painted with looser brush strokes in the very beginning days. Now I paint with a combination of different brush strokes.

PA 14 elmer (1) Do you know exactly how you want each painting to look before you even start putting paint on canvas, or do you “paint for the moment” and see where your brush takes you?

I start every painting with the eyes then I let the model “tell” me how they’d like to be painted.

That’s what really strikes me about your paintings, the eyes. How do you manage to capture such wonderfully expressive eyes?

The eyes are the windows to the soul. Every animal tells me who they are and how they see themselves on canvas.

How do you decide what colours to use in each painting? Does the subject of your painting inspire the colours?

The subject definitely inspires the colors. Very calm dogs are painted in more soothing colors like yellows, whereas a very active puppy will inspire blues and purples.

Ollie I think Ollie is my favourite Ron Burns painting. There’s something about his cocked head and the look on his face that just melts my heart :-) Who is Ollie?

Ollie was a shelter puppy that caught my eye and heart. He has the “every” puppy essence that we can all relate to regardless of breed or age of a dog.

I don’t want to pressure you by asking which painting is your favourite. But is there one painting that stands out to you as being extra-special for some reason? Maybe because it was easiest to capture the animal’s personality, or you felt a special connection with the animal in the painting?

rufus Rufus as a puppy is my favorite painting because he was my special buddy for almost 15 years. My wife, Buff, likes to tell the story about the time I told a local TV journalist that Rufus was “the love of my life”. :-)

Do you have any of your own paintings hanging in your home?

We have about a dozen of my paintings that are either our “kids” or they are paintings that I enjoy and am not ready to sell.

We have a bylaw in Ottawa limiting residents to a maximum of three dogs. Otherwise, I’d probably have more than the three dogs that I have now!! How do you stop yourself from adopting every dog and cat you meet!?

That’s the million dollar question. At the moment we have two dogs because that’s what we can manage in a city. When we lived in the country in Sedona, AZ we had 3 dogs and 2 cats. If we move to the country again we’ll have more animals.

Our dogs. . . Kylie, Squirt, Jackson, and Carbo (MIss you Lots, little Man…)

kylie licksquirt


All our dogs are rescues. I really believe that adopted pets make the best pets because they know how lucky they are that they’ve been given a new opportunity to have a loving home. Do you feel that way too?

Absolutely. Our newest addition, Emma, took about a year to turn into a softy. She had lived in a back yard for the first two years of her life and she became very independent. I think she eventually realized that somebody finally had her back and she could relax.

griffinDid you have dogs and/or cats growing up??

Brownie was the name of my first dog. Unfortunately, my parents thought animals should live outside so I had to wait until I was an adult to have furry family members living in the house and sleeping on the bed where they belong.

You’re a busy guy, travelling around the country to participate in different events in support of animal shelters and animal welfare. What’s your favourite way to relax when you’re at home? Favourite movie? Favourite food? Favourite drink?

When I’m home, I prefer to nest with my wife and dogs. In the winter we fix dinner together and put it on trays and eat in bed with the fireplace on. When the weather is warmer we sit outside for long leisurely dinners. No favorite food or movie but we lived in Napa for a few years and I love wine.

RonWCoverPaintingWhat’s your greatest inspiration/motivation?

I want every dog and cat to have a forever home and never worry about euthanasia again.

Where is the most interesting place that one of your paintings is hanging? What’s the farthest from the US that you’ve sent one of your pieces of work?

I think it’s probably in Morocco. The Princess of Morocco (who is married to the King but isn’t referred to as the Queen) bought several paintings.

bibbity I’m sure there are lots of people (myself included) who would love to help out shelter pets but don’t know what they can do, short of donating money. Can you tell us some other ways we can help?

There are lots of ways to help. Most shelters have web sites and usually have a page that lists items that the shelter needs. For example: old towels and blankets to used computers. Helping to organize a fundraiser is always beneficial. It can be a simple dog walk or a black tie dinner. We have a special page on our website just for shelters that a volunteer can check out and get ideas on how to help their local shelter.

One last question… I love water and swimming. If I was an animal, I would definitely be a dolphin. What animal would you be and why?

I’d be an ugly dog. That way you’d know who your real friends were. (Don’t you love that answer?!)

I know Ron is really busy, so I truly appreciate that he took the time to do this interview with me. Thanks Ron!!

night of light

So are you hooked on Ron Burns now?? :-)

Happy Tails!!

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If you’d like to learn more about Ron and see more of his animal paintings, here are a few web sites to check out:

Ron Burns | Ron on Facebook | Ron’s Blog

If you’re thinking of getting a cat or dog, adopt a shelter animal!!

The Humane Society of the UniteD States | Humane Society of Canada | Petfinder | SPCA International

All images from and Ron’s Facebook page

Now it’s your turn!

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The following blogs are participating in our Rewind Wednesday blog party…


susan said...

Too incredibly cute! I love that he's channeled his talent in such a meaningful way! Thx for sharing!

Gayle said...

Wow! Ron sounds like a wonderful man. I think it is wonderful that he donates his time and talent for shelter animals!

Maya said...

Wow, this guy is amazing!

Misti of Studio M Designs said...

OH, I am hooked! How awesome he is with a paint brush! Love the bright cheery colors...

Susan Lang said...

Ron, growing up we had a family mutt, sometimes referred to as a heinz 57 variety, name Brownie! When she died we got another mutt and named her Brownie and then another and named her Brownie! Three bronwies! I guess my mother was "Hooked" on the name Brownie! Love your art... vibrant colors and you capture the emotion/expression of the dogs...I am partial to dogs.

Mrs. Petrie said...

We have a Rufus and a Ralph and an Angus; all rescued. They inspire me every day. The artist really captures the love and laughter inspired by these animals.

Puna said...

Oh my goodness, I'm so glad I came here. I have to have one! I'm a huge doggie person. Thank you so much for the post.

Unknown said...

These are some of the cutest paintings! Thanks for sharing this artist!

mrsben said...

Not only a talented Artist but 'one that is giving'. Immensely enjoyed his portfolio and his interview. Thanks Kelly! (Great post.) -Brenda-

Gennaro said...

Beautiful colors. The style is aesthetically pleasing too.

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

Those are super cute! I especially love all the vibrant colors.

Unknown said...

What a great sense of style and colour Ron Burns has. I love your "Toby and Squirt".

Tiffany said...

I had never heard of this artist. Thank you for introducing him! I'm a mom of five fur-kids, three dogs, two cats. (pics on my blog) They're all getting older, but we have a good life together. :)

Suzy said...

I love his work!!!! Thanks for the introduction....

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Ron is one talented man. Thanks for introducing his talents to us animal lovers. I just have to have your puppy by the adorable.

Thanks for checking out my blog. My 'fix-it' hubby told me to tell you that he suspects element is out on the side that does not toast. Ha!

Have a great weekend Kelly!!

Dumbwit Tellher said...

sorry...THE element (on your toaster)!!

Velvet and Linen said...

I think you could have a new career as an interviewer, Kelly.
Thank you for introducing us to Ron.
What a cool, big hearted, talented (handsome!) man.
I'm hooked.


J.Covington said...

Just found your site at designingyourdreamhome blog...great work. Ditto what Brooke said and I'm adding you to my blogroll.

Maria Killam said...

I love happy, colourful art like that!

Anonymous said...

We have two rescue dogs, a neurotic Irish Setter and Frank the hound/mutt. We also adopted a cat which my son named Schmuggums. I've seen Mr. Burns work many times and always loved Toby.

Brian Shackter said...

I'm a huge fan of Pop Artist Nathan Janes! This guys work is cool, but I just dig Nathan's style more. Have you seen his art at

ELK said...

what a fun post ~such talent and pet love for sure! blessings ELK

Things That Inspire said...

This is a guy with a heart of gold - only matched by your heart of gold!

I live in a house where it is considered cruel and unusual punishment for the dog to be outside for more than 5 minutes. The kids want him inside, with them, as much as possible. We talk about wanting a new house so we can have a good yard for the dog...but in my heart, I realize that our dog would still have his nose pressed up to the window, begging to come in, even if we had 10 acres!

Umā said...

What a wonderful post! And "squirt" is a fabulous name for a dog.

Maria Killam said...

I remember this post and I adore his artwork because I love cute things!
So great!!

Kat said...

I am definitely hooked on Ron Burns now! Love his artwork, and love the story behind it even more. And keep on carrying the banner for shelter pets, they absolutely make the best companions! That's one of the reasons I reposted our kitty's story, she was abandoned and now RULES our house lol. Kathy

margie said...

great stuff! thanks for visiting, thrilled to see that one of you, kelly is in right here in my home town.

Elizabeth Halt said...

I love his work! Especially Ollie and the one with the dangling tongue and the last one with the 2 dogs in a heart.

your dogs look like great companions. :)

thanks for the comment on my blog. I tried the hose once and it didn't go well .. Atlas looked like I was trying to torture him, poor guy. He just does not love water.

Gayle said...

I love this Rewind Wednesday post! Your dogs are so beautiful! I'm sorry that Carbo is no longer with you. What a sweet face he had.

Thank you for joining the Pet Parade!

Susan said...

OMG... those are fantastic. Love love the doggies.

Hmmmmm, I'mmmmmm just a little ashamed as I have a love/hate relationship with my little pooch. Something to do with consistant shoe chewing but then I don't know what I'd do without the little brat! :) Am I bad?

SE'LAH... said...

What beautiful artwork you feature here on your blog, and here in this post. Wow.

I love that you promote adopting pets from shelters. That's so cool.

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