'Someone to watch over me'
Oil painting on canvas by Grant McSherry. 1200 mm x 963 mm.
About the oil painting
By 2013 Newfoundland dogs had been part of my family for 17 years so painting ‘Someone to watch over me’ featuring Newfies was inevitable; it’s just that it literally took years to discover the image I wanted to work with…
I had embarked on countless missions to all sorts of amazing places with Michelle, Newfies and camera before finally shooting the reference pictures at Lake Coleridge, Canterbury, New Zealand in January 2013, almost by accident...
A big part of my self-imposed artistic challenge was to create an oil painting that would be a serious oil painting about Newfoundland dogs rather than a pet portrait. I also aspired to incorporate a New Zealand vista and feeling into the artwork.
I discovered the Lake Coleridge beach featured in this painting while Michelle was in the North Island visiting family over the Christmas break and was eager to share my new spot with her. As this lakeside beach is only a 45 minute drive from home, I persuaded Michelle to go with me the day she returned from Holiday. Halfway into the mountains we saw that Mt Hutt was almost entirely obscured by hazy cloud. Shortly afterward we understood that the ‘cloud’ was in fact dust being swept up from the Rakaia riverbed by a massively powerful nor’ west wind, which had not yet made its way as far as our home.
We arrived to find that the wind was so high that the glass – like surface of Lake Coleridge which Henry, Enzo and I had enjoyed during the previous few days had turned to proper surf and the lake water was being blasted and flung everywhere. I was so disappointed. We briefly swam the Newfy boys to cool them off and I took a few photos anyway, thinking this trip was a complete waste of time.
On looking at my photos later that evening I realised that the surf caused by the nor’ wester, which made the environment so uncomfortable, had also created real visual interest. I felt that this new material was better than any of the hundreds of calm water shots that I had taken on prior visits as the rough conditions also caused the dogs to be more alert. I had finally captured imagery that I could work with to describe the Newfoundland dog’s vigilant guardianship around water.
The painting ‘Someone to watch over me’ presented a great opportunity to combine my long time connection to Newfoundland dogs with new artistic challenges. A very limited edition of 195 Giclee fine art prints on canvas is now available worldwide, so this Newfoundland dog art print is scarce.
Often referred to as gentle giants, Newfoundland dogs are renowned for their prowess in water and are still involved in water rescue work in some parts of the world. The breed often displays a natural tendency to pull people from the water and Newfies will even tow a small boat back to shore to ‘save’ the occupant. The Newfoundland dog has huge webbed feet and a big soft coat that gives buoyancy and warmth in cold water. When swimming, Newfoundlands use their great tales as rudders. The breed originates from Newfoundland, Canada, where the massive dogs were originally employed for bringing in the fishing nets and then hauling the catch to town in carts. Newfoundland dogs are very powerful draft animals.
White and black Newfoundlands were named after the famous British artist Sir Edwin Landseer, who popularised the breed through his paintings that celebrated Newfoundlands as water rescue dogs, so there is a well established link between art and my favourite breed of dog.
To find out
more about Newfoundland dogs, or if you are a Newfy fan like us you
may want to visit the Newfy
section on our website, which includes a blog that has been
running ever since our black Newf ‘Henry’ was just five
'Someone to watch over me':
oil on canvas