Matthew Hayden and his wife Kellie started collecting my work about 3 years ago… The first piece they purchased was a tower of Giraffes. Then some prints and pressies for others.

Matt and Kellie are also building their forever home. They have been working with their builder to get it done for quite a while now, and, over this period of time, have become top mates with the builder, Phil.

Tracey Keller Rocky and Bowen pet portrait
Rocky and Bowen – Work in Progress

Phil once went inside the Hayden’s home and commented on how happy he felt when he saw my painting hanging in their entrance. He loved the quirkiness of it and the bright colours. Enter another TK fan!

Since the Hayden’s build is almost done, as a token of gratitude, Matt and Kel wanted to give Phil something extraordinary as a surprise present. Of course, a TK painting was really the only choice (heehee!)

So, now the fun stuff starts – what do you give a builder? What are his loves apart from his family?.

One of Phil’s (and his family’s) passions is crabbing. The other are their dogs, Rocky and Bowen.

So over some long conversations with Matt and Kel, we discussed cows, giraffes, crabs, dogs and various other animals and, finally, we decided that the choice was to paint either a large crab, or a pet portrait of their two dogs. The dogs won the toss.

Kellie, on the quiet, went around on numerous occasions and took photographs with her iPhone (she was in serious stealth mode as you can imagine). Countless emails and telephone conversations were had over a period of few weeks while I tried to get a handle on the character of the dogs. It had to be perfect!

The pics weren’t quite nailing it for me so Kellie jumped back into stealth mode and had another crack at it. More pics were taken….. and then finally, a video. That’s when the epiphany happened and I ‘knew’ the dogs. (Which makes me wonder, if a picture is worth a thousand words how much a video is worth? If you know, drop a note in the comments below)

So then I entered sketch mode and once that was approved by Kell and Matt, the brushes hit the canvas and gradually Rocky and Bowen came to life.

So then this morning I finished the painting and… (I’ll let the video tell the rest of the story. And scroll past that to see the finished product 🙂

Tracey Keller Rocky and Bowen Pet Portrait
Rocky and Bowen – Pet Portrait by Tracey Keller. 2015

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