Carolyne Buchanan — Every Day’s a Dog Day - theHumm January 2023

Carolyne Buchanan — Every Day’s a Dog Day - theHumm January 2023

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

And that’s a good thing at Hounds of The Hood Studio at Carolyne Buchanan’s art-festooned home in Carleton Place. This multitalented artist has a mission — to popularize “dog art” to the status of “real art.” On Carolyne’s canvasses, it definitely is.

Why do we tend to dismiss dog portraits as less “real” than portraits of people? For many wo/men, their dog is easily their best friend. Over time their pets’ expressions communicate as effectively as words, and they are never as hurtful. In her studio Carolyne displays a poster that quotes renowned animal activist and author Roger Caras: “Some of our greatest historical and artistic treasures we place with curators in museums; others we take for walks.”

Carolyne’s dog portraits are so successful that viewers have told her they were inspired to become a dog lover as a result of seeing one of her paintings. She cherishes numerous times when recipients of her commissioned portraits burst into happy tears when they received their painting. One family reported that their children go downstairs to say “goodnight” to the portrait of their recently demised pet.

Even her occasional cow and cat portraits seduce the observer to want to get to know them better. Buchanan creates art “…to record what I love, what I want to remember, and what I want to share. My acrylic paintings explore subjects that evoke happiness. I believe happy art can transplant the viewer into that same mind space. Few things make me as happy as animals, especially dogs. I paint animals for the people who love them and for those who don’t know they do yet.”

The bond between her and her current rescue dog (her second) is obvious both in her art and in her conversation. She assures me that she feels the same way about her wonderful husband and two accomplished daughters, but it is dogs that are her muse and on whose behalf she donates enormous amounts of time, talent and energy.

Those Who Can — Teach!

Buchanan can draw, sculpt, paint, illustrate anything. Her creativity is evident everywhere in her home where her artworks radiate happiness everywhere you look. She has an illustrated book near completion. A tryptic of her dog paintings has just appeared in a movie. Many of her dog paintings adorn the walls at Head Office Ottawa, where pets are welcome to keep their owners company while they work. Her sketch book is bulging with creative concepts waiting their turn to be rendered in acrylics or remain as fast sketches to inspire future art.

Although she paints with her dominant left hand, she starts her fast sketches with her right hand. She astonishes me when she shows me how she challenges students in her artistic creativity classes. By splattering several dots on a blank sheet of paper, or dabbing a few spots on a page with a brush, or dropping a string onto a page, she demonstrates how she can visualize a dog face or form from the random splotches. It was amazing to watch, and I felt a real urge to test my own creative spontaneity.

Originally from Ottawa, when they started their family Carolyne and her husband chose their house in Carleton Place because it had a three-car garage and a yard suitable for gardening. Once her two daughters were in school, she accepted an invitation to teach French in a primary school as an educational assistant. Her English-speaking father had insisted his children learn their mother’s first language. Eventually she spent twelve years teaching French at Kanata Montessori school where she thoroughly enjoyed the academic atmosphere of respect, positivity and creativity.

Creativity is her hallmark, and combined with her energetic approach to everything (she ran in the Toronto Marathon at the age of 47), it’s hardly surprising that five years ago she decided to acquire a Fine Arts Diploma from the Ottawa School of Art. She had her first solo show in September of 2021, and her works are currently on display until January 17 at the OSA’s Lee Matasi Gallery in the ByWard Market in Ottawa. Her comment about her experience at OSA pays an enormous tribute to her mentors: “I went in a painter, and I came out an artist.”

Once the family inherited their first dog, Miss Flossy, from her daughter’s cello teacher, dogs became even more entrenched as her favourite subject. She now pampers and adores Jolene, another rescue dog who won her heart in spite of starting out as an insanely active pointer puppy. Some of Carolyne’s time is spent contributing to activities that raise awareness and support for needy dogs. In the summer of 2019 she organized and executed a fundraising campaign and show called the Dog Days of Summer. A quarter of the proceeds were donated to dog rescue organizations in the area. Last month she did live painting at Santapaws, a show and fundraiser for Sit With Me Dog Rescue, and she has done live sketches at Barket, a dog day celebration in September in the ByWard Market, for three years in a row.

If you suffer from the post-holiday winter blahs, consider Carolyne’s invitation to “Come pursue and collect creative inspiration and techniques for a fearless creative practice! Come find the creative child you grew out of!” Check out her Sketchbook Hound creativity classes at — it will be a stimulating way to recharge your motor in a fun and safe atmosphere. And if your dog is a cherished member of your family, consider immortalizing your happy memories with a heartwarming portrait. You can find Carolyne Buchanan’s coordinates on the back of her Artist Trading Card at the top of this page.

Artist Trading Card

WHO Carolyne Buchanan

WHAT Acrylics Artist, Dog Portraits, Author and Illustrator, Art Instructor

WHERE Taste Blooms Pastry Shop & Eatery, Carleton Place ; Surrounding Memories, ; ; ;

WHEN Jan. 3-17, Lee Matasi Art Gallery at Ottawa School of Art; home studio by appointment

WHY “I create to record what I love, what I want to remember, and what I want to share.”


Carolyne Buchanan — Every Day’s a Dog Day - theHumm January 2023

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

And that’s a good thing at Hounds of The Hood Studio at Carolyne Buchanan’s art-festooned home in Carleton Place. This multitalented artist has a mission — to popularize “dog art” to the status of “real art.” On Carolyne’s canvasses, it definitely is.

Why do we tend to dismiss dog portraits as less “real” than portraits of people? For many wo/men, their dog is easily their best friend. Over time their pets’ expressions communicate as effectively as words, and they are never as hur......


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