In a time of uncertainty, Laura Mizrahi has found joy in a creative place: painting dogs.
When discussing her latest show, "The Dogs Are Out Again," the artist focused on the feelings the work inspired: "Right now, they give me comfort in our crazy, crazy world."
Being able to focus on canine subjects helped Mizrahi overcome her creative block caused by the pandemic.
She said, "I had been signed up for this show for nine months or so. Then COVID came and I just couldn't paint. All I could do was think about our world."
Two months ago, she got to work on the show, depicting dogs that she or other family members have owned as well as a few creative strays. Working on the watercolors, she started to feel better.
"I just feel good looking at dogs, and these dogs you don't have to feed them and you don't have to clean up after them," she said. "They don't talk to me about money, don’t notice if I don’t mop my floors. We all should learn something from that.
"People, me included, sometimes get sucked into the negativity and we shouldn't be."
Mizrahi has often found inspiration in animals as well as ranch life, inspired by the small cattle ranch in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Granite Station she calls home along with her husband, Lee, and two dogs.
Previous shows have included “The Road to Glennville” (2014), "Cowboys, Horses and Cows" (2018), “Country Roads” (2019) and “Who Let the Dogs Out?” (2016), from which the latest show stems.
Breeds featured in the show include Boston terrier, Malinois, Chihuahua, dachshund, Airedale and corgi.
Mizrahi said all the dogs she depicts develop personalities as she paints them.
"We become friends and then I send them off someplace else."
One of her favorites from this show features two young dachshunds, which she found to be an artistic challenge.
"My grandson sent me a photo of his two dachshund puppies. They were both asleep in the photo but I had to open one of their eyes for the painting,” she said, noting that viewers connect with subjects through the eyes.
"It makes me feel good to look at it," she said of the last piece she's completing for the show that will be on display at Dagny's Coffee Co., 1600 20th St., and online at the Bakersfield Art Association's Facebook page.
BAA group show
The latest shutdown forced the Bakersfield Art Association Art Center to close its doors to the public. Luckily the work will be featured on the BAA's Facebook page.
This month's group show features art that was intended for the annual BAA calendar. Although the association opted not to produce a calendar this year, it still wanted to highlight the selected works.
Artists featured include Mizrahi, Iva Fendrick, Mark Engelien, Mimi Placencia, Terry Hall, Randall Berquist, Sissy Ullmann and John Oxford.