Trendsetting Hank and his masterpiece. MELISSA SPIREK/CONTRIBUTED

Artwork meets pawwork at painting party

Impressionist art was known for many trendsetting techniques including large, unique brush strokes. Lines were often blurry and did not always define concretely the objects artists were painting.

The movement’s creators in 19th-century France rejected the official, establishment approved exhibitions and their strict painting rules.

Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir, among others, helped define the movement.

Stay with me … I’m getting to the canine connection.

Our Lab, Teddy, and his partners in crime, Hank and Sully, recently participated in a painting party at their playgroup.

I knew Teddy wouldn’t like it, but he would comply with the staffs’ request.

My friend, Melissa, assumed her two furry children would comply, too. Boy, was she wrong.

When Teddy was picked up, his painting was joyfully handed over. The canvas was filled with bold paws prints in green, orange, red and blue.

My husband, Ed, and I laughed at Teddy’s painting. We were positive our budding artist was glad when the activity was over, so he could get back to playing with his friends.

When Melissa came to pick up her boys she was immediately handed Sully’s painting in the same joyous fashion. She smiled and laughed with the staff over Sully’s “pawwork.” It was similar to Teddy’s, the canvas filled with colorful prints.

Melissa waited for Hank’s painting. The staff started to apologize as soon as they handed it to her.

Hank’s canvas was not filled with colorful paw prints. It was filled with long streaks of color. All of the dogs’ paintings were shown on the doggy day care’s Facebook page — except Hank’s.

The senior black Lab would not comply with the staff. Under no circumstances would he tap his paw on the canvas. He was the only dog at the painting party who refused to go along with the program.

Melissa took both paintings home. She first showed Sully’s painting to her husband, Sean. The proud mom talked about displaying the work of art in the study — the room they both use and where both dogs lounge when their parents are working.

Melissa then laughed as she showed Sean what Hank had painted. Sean was taken aback that she would laugh at the masterpiece.

Hank’s painting was a bold artistic statement, Sean thought. It illustrated his creative side.

If you follow Sean’s line of reasoning, just like the Impressionists before him, Hank rejected the official sanctioned project. The pooch used trendsetting techniques. Large, blurry lines highlighted his masterful work.

Just like Monet and Renoir, Hank was defining a movement.

Sean knew Hank was special from the moment he and Melissa met him at the foster mom’s home and this painting reaffirmed it.

Melissa smiled. The guy who had never owned or thought about owning a dog until he married Melissa was totally smitten. And the proof was no more evident than when Sean proudly hung Hank’s painting next to his desk.

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