Anna Burke Harris is a Westerner of mixed ancestry born in Fort Worth and now living in New Mexico. She grew up on a working ranch with an eccentric family of artists and animal breeders.
It seems appropriate that she would be compelled to combine her art with her love of animals. In addition, she breeds and shows Bull Terriers; both she and her husband are judges of dogs (American and United Kennel Clubs).
When I first heard of the effort to honor Patsy Ann, I decided to submit drawings and a proposal to June Dawson (founder of The Friends of Patsy Ann). The importance of this remarkable dog and her story were something I wanted to work out in art.
A macquette is a model of a proposed work. This is a study in clay or plastilene (which I use), proportionate to the final size of work. In Patsy Ann's case, a little less than half the finished size. First, after sketches and drawings from living dogs (and I have several Bull Terrier couch potatoes! ) I corrected these preliminaries to the proportions of Patsy Ann.
Patsy Ann did not have upright ears, a sin in show Bullies. But I would not have her criticized for this charming eccentricity. And her best photo showed her distinctly overweight from the high living of ship's cooks.
I knew she was deaf, and deaf animals use their eyes beautifully to compensate for hearing loss. Also, they are alert to movement to a keen degree.
So, the pose of her sitting and watching was a natural. Also, the alert look and the ears slightly blown by the wind. And the "down eared" expression of a dog watching the approach of a friend.
I had heard the story of the collar, bought for her and how she insisted a lady of grace and charm need not be burdened by such an indignity. The collar across her feet is homage to the story and to her indomitable spirit and the love of her friends in Juneau.
My ancestry is mixed, with a lot of indian, Lakota and Cherokee. From these ancestors, who love and respect the
And thus the bits of fur and hair from those who knew of Patsy Ann. They were honoring their own selves and their beloved animals. These pieces were pressed into the wax before the final bronze casting.
Patsy Ann was sculpted in my studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico and cast at Shidoni Foundry which is one of the best. Then she was crated up and shipped to Alaska. I asked to have her go part of the way by ship.
I could not get to the statue unveiling but I heard it was a wonderful ceremony. I hope to be invited to come up to judge by one of the local dog club's shows so I can go and visit my beloved Juneau lass.
- ANNA BURKE HARRIS
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