Out & About: Hanover artist inspired by late family dog

Paintings by Marjorie Rose depicting her late dog Bailey are the centerpiece of her exhibit, “The Dog Days of Summer,” which is on display at the Ledyard Gallery at the Howe Library in Hanover through July 26. (Courtesy Howe Library)

Paintings by Marjorie Rose depicting her late dog Bailey are the centerpiece of her exhibit, “The Dog Days of Summer,” which is on display at the Ledyard Gallery at the Howe Library in Hanover through July 26. (Courtesy Howe Library) Courtesy photograph

Paintings by Marjorie Rose depicting her late dog Bailey are the centerpiece of her exhibit, “The Dog Days of Summer,” which is on display at the Ledyard Gallery at the Howe Library in Hanover through July 26. (Courtesy Howe Library)

Paintings by Marjorie Rose depicting her late dog Bailey are the centerpiece of her exhibit, “The Dog Days of Summer,” which is on display at the Ledyard Gallery at the Howe Library in Hanover through July 26. (Courtesy Howe Library) Courtesy photograph—Courtesy photograph

Paintings by Marjorie Rose depicting her late dog Bailey are the centerpiece of her exhibit, “The Dog Days of Summer,” which is on display at the Ledyard Gallery at the Howe Library in Hanover through July 26. (Courtesy Howe Library)

Paintings by Marjorie Rose depicting her late dog Bailey are the centerpiece of her exhibit, “The Dog Days of Summer,” which is on display at the Ledyard Gallery at the Howe Library in Hanover through July 26. (Courtesy Howe Library) Courtesy photograph—Courtesy photograph

Paintings by Marjorie Rose depicting her late dog Bailey are the centerpiece of her exhibit, “The Dog Days of Summer,” which is on display at the Ledyard Gallery at the Howe Library in Hanover through July 26. (Courtesy Howe Library)

Paintings by Marjorie Rose depicting her late dog Bailey are the centerpiece of her exhibit, “The Dog Days of Summer,” which is on display at the Ledyard Gallery at the Howe Library in Hanover through July 26. (Courtesy Howe Library) Courtesy photograph—Courtesy photograph

Paintings by Marjorie Rose depicting her late dog Bailey are the centerpiece of her exhibit, “The Dog Days of Summer,” which is on display at the Ledyard Gallery at the Howe Library in Hanover through July 26. (Courtesy Howe Library)

Paintings by Marjorie Rose depicting her late dog Bailey are the centerpiece of her exhibit, “The Dog Days of Summer,” which is on display at the Ledyard Gallery at the Howe Library in Hanover through July 26. (Courtesy Howe Library) Courtesy photograph

By LIZ SAUCHELLI

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 07-01-2023 10:19 PM

Her youngest daughter, then in middle school, had spent years campaigning for a dog to Rose and her husband, Doug Irwin. She wrote a research paper on the value of dogs on families and left notes on their pillows. Finally, they said OK.

“I’ll tell you: Within a week, I was totally smitten,” Rose said.

She was also inspired.

“I just wanted to paint Bailey, capture her soul on canvas,” Rose, of Hanover, said.

The catch was, Rose — a senior economics lecturer at Dartmouth College — had never taken any art classes, let alone given painting a try. She embarked on a process of “learning by doing,” studying the works of artists who paint dogs and of some of the world’s most famous artists, then painting Bailey in those styles.

While her first few dozen “were pretty bad,” Rose kept at it. Now, her portraits of Bailey — along with those of other dogs and even a cat and a few birds — are on display in the Ledyard Gallery in Hanover’s Howe Library. The exhibition, titled “The Dog Days of Summer,” will be on display through July 26 at 13 South St. and can be viewed whenever the library is open.

The show has taken on even more meaning; Bailey died last year, after Rose’s exhibition proposal was accepted by the gallery’s jury. Bailey’s death also inspired Rose to create more pieces, which helped her along with her grieving process.

“It was so therapeutic,” Rose said. “Part of it became a tribute to her and … to all dogs. Honestly, I think dogs are some of the most wonderful creatures God created.”

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Rose’s exhibit is also interspersed with quotes about dogs that she saved to her Pinterest board over the years, along with descriptions of the roughly 45 pieces. This is Rose’s first solo exhibition. A painting of Bailey was part of a show at AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon that focused on dogs. Over the years, she has given her paintings to family and friends.

The exhibition appeals to people of all ages, said Megan Coleman, programs and public relations librarian at the Howe. Staff have delighted in seeing people interact with the paintings and with Rose herself.

“She’s just so excited and enthusiastic, and it rubs off on you,” Coleman said. In particular, Coleman likes Rose’s takes on such heavyweight artists as Picasso, Klimt, Warhol and Van Gogh.

One painting particularly close to Rose’s heart is in the style of the street artist Banksy. “Wherever you are be all there,” is lettered across the top.

“To me, that’s the most important lesson dogs teach us,” Rose said. “It’s always be present. Be in the present moment. We always try to multitask, and dogs just say, ‘This is the best walk. This is the best meal. Isn’t this blade of grass awesome?’ ”

Since the exhibit went up June 3, Rose has visited multiple times. During Dartmouth’s alumni weekend, she brought former students — many of whom knew Bailey from Rose’s office hours and visits to her home — to see her work. One lesson Rose has tried to impart to her students during her 26 years of teaching has been the importance of finding something creative for themselves that brings them joy.

“I think it’s just really important for your mental well-being, having some sort of creative outlet,” Rose said. In addition to painting, Rose also plays guitar with a local country music group, The Mill Band, and is teaching herself to play mandolin.

While Rose’s focus is on dogs, she has also branched out into pieces inspired by prominent economics visuals, including ones depicting “Deadweight Loss” and “Gains From Trade” graphs. Two of her works hang in her husband’s Dartmouth office.

When Rose started painting Bailey, she never expected it would be seen by people beyond her family and friends. She did so simply for the joy of creating and her love of Bailey.

“It’s kind of emotional to walk around the Ledyard Gallery and see all of that work in one place,” she said. “Hopefully people will go up and say, ‘Yes I can do this too.’ ”

Editor’s note: For more information, visit thehowe.org/spaces/ledyard-gallery. Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.