Wai Ling Mark commissioned Brad Swiney to do a painting of her first Welsh Springer Spaniel. Here's the story behind the beautiful and vibrant art work.


Mr Red, by Brad Swiney

1. What is the story behind Mr Red?
Red, a Welsh Springer Spaniel, is our first dog. He died in 2010. He was gentlest, sweetest dog we have ever met. We named him Red because Welsh Springer Spaniels have a distinctive red and white coat.

He was a very calm dog, without the slightest hint of aggression. He loved hugs and kisses and was happy just hanging out with us all day long.

2. What inspired you to commission a painting of Red?
We were devastated when Red died, especially my husband. He died from old age, which was less of a shock than dying from an accident but his health deteriorated very rapidly. My husband always felt guilty for punishing Red when he stole and ate an entire packet of bah kwa (barbequed pork) just before he was ill. My husband always wondered if Red had forgiven him for the punishment.

I commissioned the painting for my husband’s birthday this year. My specific brief to Brad was to paint a happy, peaceful picture of Red. With this painting, I hope to give my husband a peace of mind.

3. What did you enjoy most about the entire experience?
The entire process was very collaborative. After my brief to Brad, he updated me on his progress at every key stage of painting – from the sketch to the colour palette to the first draft. It was really interesting to see the various stages of the painting, and to finally see Red emerging from the canvas.

Mr Red, in progress Mr Red, in progress

4. Would you commission art again? Why or why not?
Yes I would. The whole experience is really fun and you get to be part of the creative process. It also makes a very personalised gift, something that you know for sure is unique.

5. What tip would you give someone who's new to commissioned art?
I think the most important part of the process is the brief that you give to the artist. Art offers a very intimate insight into the soul of the artist. In the case of commissioned art, the artist needs to know what it is that he needs to express. The more you can share with the artist, the more accurate he would be in his interpretation of your emotion.

Thank you, Wai Ling, for sharing the beautiful story of Red with us!

Be sure to check out more of Brad Swiney's work on his artist page.