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Pets in the garden - a WIP and a reality check

I haven't joined in with the monthly art challenge in forever, but decided to get back to it with this month's theme, "Pets In The Garden". This is a subject I know about, as despite not being much of an animal lover I seem to have accidentally acquired an extraordinary number of pets. Currently sharing our house we have a dog, a cat and three chickens. Not to mention the husband and daughter who also need to be fed and exercised. How did this happen? Why do I have so many animals? Especially at 5pm when they become all bothersome and start hovering around me, wondering where their dinner is (again, i am including the humans here).

So, I started a lovely serene painting, depicting my dog laying in the garden. This is something he does a lot. He basically spends his life wandering around the house and garden, finding a spot and then laying on it. I added some lovely green grass, even though in reality it's quite brown from where he's weed on it. I was happily daubing on the leaves of the hedge, pretending for arts sake that it is in some way uniform shape and not at all massively overgrown and full of brambles and the skeletons of the voles that my cat has been chowing down on every night since we moved here.

Anyhoo. It struck me that my painting wasn't very accurate. For a start, my dog's favourite place to lay isn't by the hedge, but right in front of the swings, usually when my daughter is attempting to swing on them. And yes, he does lay a lot, but he also charges around the garden in hot pursuit of the cat, thinking that maybe this time, just this once, she might play with him and not punch him on the nose (will he ever learn). Oh, and see that gate in my idyllic garden scene? That's to keep the chickens in their part of the garden. Except that it doesn't, and two of them can regularly be found strutting around in front of it, in fact the only evidence that the gate is there at all is in the form of Chicken 3, too fat and stupid to attempt escape, who runs backwards and forwards squawking at the other two from behind the gate. In my imagination the squawking can be translated as: "GUYS!!! GUYS!!!! We're not allowed over there! OMG GUYS! Come back, we'll get told off!!!!" Then begins the merry dance of getting them back into their part of the garden. Ever tried to catch a chicken? Can I suggest you don't?

So, in the spirit of honesty, I turned away from my (pretty but full of lies) painting and attempted a more accurate image of what happens where there are pets in the garden. But I still left out the wee patches.

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