Monday, November 16, 2015

Greg Hartwich & Lady

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Greg Hartwich. I'm the artist behind Little Beagle Studio, my traditional art and graphic design business. Lady, my five year old dog, is the "little beagle."

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

This is a special occasion, because I don't get to see Lady a lot. Jacqui (my fiancée) and I recently moved to Upstate New York, and my little beagle stayed behind in Massachusetts with my parents and my younger sister. I was back in MA visiting my family, and I really liked the idea of spending some quality time with Lady by having coffee in my hometown's park.

What's brewing?

Straight black coffee from the Dunkin' Donuts down the street from my house. I like to keep it simple.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

A bacon, egg and cheese croissant breakfast sandwich. Not health food, but one of my favorite ways to start the day.

How were you and Lady united?

Lady joined our family three years ago. She was a rescue from a shelter in Massachusetts. My parents, my sister and I visited Buddy Dog (a local animal shelter in Sudbury, MA), and out of all the dogs they had, Lady was the only one with whom we felt an instant connection. We were lucky to get her, because she was actually scheduled to be picked up by someone else. She ended up coming home with us when the other interested party was a no-show. Their loss, our gain.

Any treats for Lady on this occasion?

She loves chicken jerky, so I brought some along for her. Once, when we left her alone for a few hours, she ate an entire bag of this stuff. She was so happy! No regrets.

How did Lady get her name? Does she have any nicknames?

Like I said, Lady is a rescue dog, and we kept the name she came with. She's accumulated a few nicknames over the course of the three years that we've known her: my neighbor calls her "Lady Jane,“ and Jacqui and I call her ”Ladybug."

Please tell us about Little Beagle Studio.

Little Beagle Studio is a joint effort between myself and my fiancé, Jacqui. I make the art, she handles the marketing and website upkeep. I draw portraits of pets, design logos, and make other custom artwork. We are currently starting on our holiday season, and are ramping up with orders for custom portraits of dogs, cats and more. I take a few pictures from people who place orders on my website or email me directly about having a portrait of their beloved pet. I take those pictures and draw a portrait of their pet and have it enlarged to whatever size the customer wants. Then I mail them the original image hand drawn usually only 3x5 size and the enlarged size they want. What makes me unique is how small I draw the original drawing. I like to get a lot of small details into every image from those little things that make your pet unique, to texture and this is done by working very small.

What role does Lady play in your design work?

Lady is my muse. Whenever I run into a little artist's block, I'll draw her to get past it. I also do funny sketches of my little beagle for holidays, which I typically post on our Facebook page. One of my first pet portraits featured Lady, her face is part of our logo that's featured on business cards, stickers, our website... She's a huge part of my design work.

Tennis ball, stick, squeaky-toy...?

Lady gets really excited about any toy that 1. looks like an animal (fox, squirrel, skunk, etc.), and 2. has a plastic bottle inside it that she can crunch. Her favorite thing to do is to sprint around the house while chomping on her toys.

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

She loves people, so mailmen are no problem. Any stranger coming to our door gets a quiet, sweet, enthusiastic greeting. Apparently she hates rodents, though. Anytime she spots squirrels, rabbits or chipmunks, she has to chase them.

Where is Lady's favorite place for an outing?

Lady's favorite place to walk is at the state park in Ashland, MA. The scenery is beautiful, there are about five miles of trails to explore, and there are plenty of other dogs and people to socialize with.

Who is Lady's best pet-pal?

Lady's best pet-pal would have to be the next-door neighbor's dog. Darcy is a female black lab with lots of energy, and both her and Lady love to sprint around and roughhouse. They don't get to see each other a lot, so whenever they meet, sparks fly.

What is Lady's most endearing quality?

Lady's especially endearing because she's so loving. She used to be nervous around people, but that only lasted a few weeks after we got her. Nowadays, it seems like she hasn't met a person she doesn't like.

If Lady could change one thing about upstate New Yorkers, what would it be?

Lady likes to get to the park quickly, which is not a problem around Bostonians who drive fast. When she's visiting us out here, it takes longer to get start our walks because of the slow upstate New York drivers. If she could change that, she would! I think mostly Lady would love Upstate New York, it has more parks than where we lived in MA and she loves to go to parks and on long hiking trips.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Lady could speak, who should voice her?

The consensus is Emma Stone, because she's sassy, which I suspect Lady secretly is as well.

If Lady could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?

I was thinking I'd ask her this: "Who's your favorite, me or my dad?" However, I know the answer, it's my dad. She loves him more than anything. Oh well. I'm not sure what my question would be.

Visit the Little Beagle Studio website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

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