Robert James Clarke

Robert James Clarke studied at the St. Martins School of Art in London. A skilled draftsman and visual artist, his drawings and paintings of dogs have garnered praise from both sides of the Atlantic. He has had exhibitions in both New York and London and Cricket Fine Art held a solo exhibition 'Best in Show' in 2013.

Robert was attacked by a dog when he was two, and never really got over the fear until he decided to get a Jack Russell puppy ." I went to a puppy club—we handled all sorts of dogs, letting them mouth us, touching their paws, really trying to bond with them. That was when I got over my fear. Then with the onset of the dog paintings, I met dogs of so many different breeds—and they were all wonderful in their own right. I feel comfortable now.

I try to capture the essence of the dog. When I meet the dog, I gauge its playfulness and its attitude, but I also sometimes work from assorted photos without seeing the dog in person. Each dog has a different personality; I try to capture that in paint. For example, some dogs are in need of exactitude (Jack Russells, Chihuahuas). The smaller dogs generally are portrayed more closely, while the larger, hairier dogs are more abstract (Wheatens, Cockapoos).

I have a canvas ready and sift through the images I’ve got on hand. I get a sense of colour and feel from the picture, and paint the dog. Sometimes it all comes together like magic; other times, it’s the smallest detail like adding a dot to the eye that makes the dog spring from the canvas."

—Robert James Clarke