Tribal Kaya Portrait by talani-mae (critique requested)

Tribal Kaya Portrait (critique requested)


1 July 2016 at 20:09:40 MDT

We lost our sweet black lab Kaya last year. She was....just the most fantastic dog.
Pictures I took of her a couple years ago. And the only good ones anyone has of her, as she was petrified of cameras.

So for Christmas 2015, I decided to give my mother and father inlaw the tribal portrait I did of her about a week before she passed on. Funny how things sneak up on you like that. I had drawn her portrait, and a week later she had to be helped on due to pain ;_;

Needless to say, they liked it. She always had this way of sticking her tongue out slightly at random. Always made me giggle So I incorporated that in.

She is the first dog since I was 6 that I let myself get close to.

One week before Christmas in 2015, we had to bury our family dog. My husband, his brother and parents had her for 14 years, and I have known her for 12. From puppy to adult, she was family. So many laughs and smiles, such wonderful times with our sweet girl. She was so dear to us. We said our goodbyes to her.

Neither husband nor I slept that night,

"Mommy, Daddy, is papa building a new home for Kaya?" I felt something shatter inside me hearing our then soon to be 4 year old say that.

Somehow, the night before being helped to sleep, after being immobile for over 10 hours, laying on the floor, she got up and laid down under the Christmas tree in the other room. Somehow managed to wander all the way through the kitchen, around the table and under the tree. She chose her place to go, and felt nothing as she was helped to pass on.

I think she had known for a while that she was getting to her end times in this life. And Christmas she knew very well, every year she got to unwrap a present. She was so delicate about everything, taking the present in her paws, caaaarefully using juuuust the corner of her jaw to slloooooowly open her present lmao A stuffed toy usually, sometimes a squeaker or sound box in it that would make birdy noises. And when she had her toy shed be all excited, and yet, never once in her 14 years did she chew holes in her toys. She still had every single toy she had ever gotten from the time she was a puppy and NON of them were damaged. Imagine that ;_;

She still had all her toys from when she was just a puppy. She always stashed them right next to her bed. Sometimes she would chew, and throw it around the house or outside with her mouth, but always gentle. She was something else entirely, so considering that routine, every year on Christmas day, the weeks before hand having the Christmas tree, she chose a place to lay down that she associated with good memories. which is incredible to me.

Kaya's body rests beside their first dog, buried with her bed and all her favorite toys, but her spirit will be playing with Jake, who she never met, dancing in the stars.

Kaya was petrified of cameras ,don't know why, she always ended up looking super scared in pics. So. You had to be patient and super persistent sneaky to get a good pic. These two, (link above) are the fruits of my determination , almost 11 years of trying, I got them.... that perfect, vulnerable, happy carefree pup we loved and knew so well. She's such a beautiful black lab, and I was hoping to take more of her looking so relaxed. In those photos, she was digging for ground moles, her playmates. And then, there I had it, it took all day two summers ago to get an unguarded purely joyful expression on her face, but I did it. Here's Kayas beautiful face, with her perked attentive ears, as I said excitedly "KAYA! SQUIRREL!" And snapped the pic as soon as she looked at me. Love you girl.

I still want to draw her young self dancing on a path of stars to the sky, their first dog Jake waiting at the top. I need to study all the pictures of her, and of their first dog Jake so I can somehow get that right.

Needless to say, this lab was tremendously well loved by her family and those that knew her, and losing her has been a devastating blow to everyone.

Submission Information

Visual / Traditional