Inspiration for this event came to Cindy after the loss of her beloved dog, Cookie. She approached numerous celebrities both here and in the USA asking whether she could paint a portrait of their dog, to be sold for charity. The two charities which benefited were Battersea Dogs Home, July 1st 2001 and DOGNY, May 19th 2003, which was set up after the events of 9/11 to help homeless and ownerless dogs.
The response was amazing and the two auctions raised over £100,000 between them.
The famous owners included everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Clinton and the Osbournes to Geri Halliwell, Sir Elton John and Dame Elizabeth Taylor and the list goes on and on and on.
Although Cindy has held commercial exhibitions, it is charity work which gives her the greatest pleasure: “You really do get something back from organising an event such as this. I am not a goody two-shoes, but I love the fact that my art makes people smile while also raising money for good causes”.
Not all her subjects wanted to stay still – even the most famous dogs wriggle, lick themselves or simply run off when bored: “That is something I have had to get used to”, she laughs, “in the end, I often have to rely on photographs”.
Each painting takes about two months to complete, but it is all worthwhile when she gets a positive response: “Most of the celebrities bought their own dog’s pawtrait. It’s brilliant when someone like George Michael rings to say how thrilled he is or how I have captured a dog’s spirit”.
Cindy works in watercolour and acrylic, producing an explosion of colour and vitality. Arts writer Robin Dutt says: “The result is a deliberately naive presentation with Lass-ical settings of lush vegetation and day-glo flowers”.