The Gorgeous Sporting-Dog Art of Bob White


“The Little Prince” – oil on canvas

Time passes, and kids and puppies grow up too quickly. “The Little Prince” was commissioned as a Christmas present for a friend’s father…as a reminder that the Labrador retriever, spread across the couch snoring, once napped in his lap.

by Bob White

Editor’s note: I’ve been friends with Bob White since we first met at a benefit fly-fishing event for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in 2007, but I’ve been a fan of his artwork for much longer than that. For instance, he did the wonderful illustrations for Tom Rosenbauer’s The Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide. Bob posted a gorgeous dog painting on his Facebook page a few days ago, so I asked him if he would allow us to post a few examples of his work along with his thoughts about what goes into these paintings. Luckily for us, he agreed. He wrote the following brief introduction and then notes on each piece of artwork:

I think it’s important for an artist to paint what he knows and loves.

In my case, this includes everything to do with wingshooting: the people and their gear, the environs and its moods, the birds that we pursue… and bird dogs with whom we share the days.

I love to paint it all, but there’s a special place in my heart when it comes to painting dogs. Here are a few samples, in oil, watercolor and pencil.


“In the Pear Patch” – oil on board

photo Courtesy Rob Snowhite

I prefer to paint from life, or at least from my own photographs, but in a pinch it’s nice to have friends who can capture a moment in the field. My good friend and sporting photographer, Tosh Brown, was gracious enough to provide me with reference material for this painting. “In the Pear Patch” will illustrate Joe Arnette’s closing column in June/July issue of Gun Dog magazine.

Arnett's Dog

“Spaniel and Woodcock” – watercolor on archival paper

by Bob White

It was an easy enough shot, as woodcock go, but I rushed the first one as the bird towered through the alder thicket. Then, I missed with the second barrel as it turned down-wind and twisted through a stand of aspen. “Where is that darned dog anyway?” I asked my hunting partner. “Couldn’t he tell it was a clean miss?”

Seconds became minutes, and half-an-hour later, Jake, returned with my bird held gently in his mouth. Its breast had been pierced by a single pellet. As Jake presented the bird, there was a kind look in his eyes, as if to say, “Surely, you didn’t mean to leave this behind, did you, old friend?”

A Place in the Choir

“A Place in the Choir” – pencil on archival paper

by Bob White

We all love our bird dogs, but in some very rare instances, the bond that develops between a man and his dog transcends comprehension. Such was the case, with my friend and his English setter. Few words were ever spoken in the field, even fewer at the cabin, but the depth and breadth of their communication, sometimes just a brief look, was profound. A friend like that is hard to lose.

You can see lots more of Bob’s work at his website.

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