Studio Mate

Jenny and Trout in West Oakland art studio.
Jenny and Trout in West Oakland.

For the last 12 years, I’ve been a full-time artist.  That time has been spent with two close family members of the furry variety.  Trout and Tule have been my partners in artistic crime, routine instigators, warrior walkers, and prancing protectors.  How lucky I’ve been to have them part of my art practice and life!

Tule in training.
Tule in training.

This vegetarian and animal loving artist couldn’t imagine a day without a four-legged companion.  Honestly, I’ve met only a handful of people that display the same sincerity, honesty, and dependability.  That unconditional love makes me want to be better creatively and most importantly as a human.


According to, artists David Hockney, Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Norman Rockwell, Georgia O’Keeffe, Rene Magritte, Emily Carr, and many others had beloved pets.  An anomaly in the art world order, I don’t think so.  Working in the studio is a solo adventure and a pet offers the perfect amount of honest companionship without being annoying or vindictive.


Trout was an 110 lbs studio companion for almost 10 years starting in West Oakland and ending in Richmond.  Taught him “no zones” where he learned quickly: paint doesn’t taste that great.  He perfected a bark that scared off intruders and created a healthy barrier from trouble.  Driving to work, he would lean out my truck window and playfully stare down people.  Trout was always ready for an adventure and loved his job.

Retirement mode for Trout.
Retirement mode for Trout.

When Trout passed in August of 2013, the pain was deep and the thought of another was unbearable.  No one or anything could ever replace him.  When the holidays arrived, I missed that regal presence and energy.  As a result, my husband and I drove over 10 hours to Portland to get Tule.  Would this pup live up to Trout’s legend?

Yes and no.

Worth the drive.
Worth the drive.
Jenny and Tule finding inspiration in Tahoe.
Tahoe and Tule inspiration.

Tule is a different personality at a different time in my life.  It is a perfect fit.  He’s currently only 1-½ years-old, still in training, but has adjusted well to the routine.  He’s faster, sweeter, and more sensitive than stoic Trout.  Tule loves nuzzling while Trout demanded love.  A loud discussion scars Tule’s soul while Trout loved being judge and jury.  However, both deemed reliable at any moment with the guarantee to steal your heart.

Angels on planet earth.
Angel on planet Earth.
Delivery from beyond.
Delivery from beyond.

Not a particularly religious individual.  However, do consider myself “spiritual optimistic.”  On this Easter Sunday, can’t help wonder why dog spelled backwards is god.  Maybe it’s a silly notion or an accident.  Not sure.  But what I know is that Trout and Tule have provided forever love and acceptance of my flaws.  Mark Twain: “Heaven goes by favor.  If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”  Agreed.

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