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A paw-fect model

June 15th, 2018

A Collie lies on a platform in front of an art student who has drawn the dog on their easel in blue pastel.

Kailey the collie poses for the AGO’s Life Drawing class. Image by the AGO.

Think life drawing is ruff? Wait till you meet these model canines.

Three times a year, the AGO offers Life Drawing classes for young people age 8–18. Using a variety of models and techniques, these classes teach students drawing skills, from shading to proportion to line and shape. Usually, the class features still objects or live models for young students to draw. And sometimes a very special guest steps in for artistic inspiration — a therapy dog!

Working with the organization Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC), the AGO’s Life Drawing classes (for ages 8–10, 11–13, and 14–18) welcomed two canine models this past weekend, Kailey, a collie and Sweet, a toy poodle. After playtime with the pups, the students sketched these paw-some pals, who obediently struck a few poses.

We spoke to Debra Sigler, Team Leader at TPOC, to learn more about why therapy dogs make marvellous muses for young artists.

AGO: Why are dogs such great models in an art class?
Debra: So many young people love and admire dogs, and enjoy being around dogs. In the AGO’s Life Drawing classes, the students have a chance to interact with the dog before beginning to draw, giving them even more motivation to sketch their new furry friend.

AGO: What makes dogs a therapeutic presence for kids?
Debra: Research indicates that dogs are therapeutic for people of all ages, and kids are no exception. Dogs can be a calming presence for kids, as well as a motivating influence.

AGO: What are some of the other programs with children you offer through TPOC?
Debra: Our Child-Certified Therapy dogs are involved in a variety of programs, including at SickKids Hospital, nurseries, daycares and schools. We offer a program for libraries and schools called “Paws to Read,” where kids read out loud to a dog – children are often more willing to read to animals than adults.

The next session of Life Drawing for 14–18-year-olds will begin on July 4. All age groups will resume in the fall. Don’t miss your next chance to meet new friends, learn fun skills and possibly hang out with some ter-ruff-ic pups.

Check out photos from this past Sunday’s Life Drawing classes for ages 11-13 and 14-18 below!

A toy poodle poses for a drawing class.

Sweet, a toy poodle, joins the AGO’s Life Drawing class for ages 11-13. Image by the AGO.

Kids pet a brown toy poodle.

Image by the AGO.

A toy poodle poses for a drawing class.

Image by the AGO.

A toy poodle poses for a drawing class.

Image by the AGO.

A toy poodle poses for a drawing class.

Image by the AGO.

A toy poodle poses for a drawing class.

Image by the AGO.

A toy poodle poses for a drawing class.

Image by the AGO.

A toy poodle poses for a drawing class.

Image by the AGO.

Kailey the collie joins the AGO’s Life Drawing class for ages 14-18. Image by the AGO.

A Life Drawing class meets a Border Collie.

Image by the AGO.

A painting of a border collie.

Image by the AGO.

A collie poses for a Life Drawing class at the AGO.

Image by the AGO.

Sketches of a collie at a Life Drawing class at the AGO.

Image by the AGO.

A collie poses for a Life Drawing class at the AGO.

Image by the AGO.

A collie poses for a Life Drawing class at the AGO.

Image by the AGO.

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