Saturday, July 17, 2010


     My part of Texas, like much of the South, uses bulldogs to get things done.  The title of this painting is Anchor, but this good-natured fella’s real name was Jack.
     I’m not sure what the mix ratio was---something like 2/3 pit bull and 1/3 black mouth cur.  Jack was different than most bulldogs.  Jack had brains and braun.  He belonged to my friend Tate Bannowsky, who at the time was head guide for a hunting operation just west of where Pam and I lived in Sabinal, TX.
     Jack was primarily a blood-trailing dog.  Wounded game require every effort to recover them, and trailing dogs are a necessity in the brush country of South Texas. 
     Jack was exceptional at trailing, and could close the distance quickly when the animal was brought to bay or wounded.  That’s why I titled the painting, Anchor.  Jack would arrive and hang on tight until the hunter could get there.  There was no shaking him loose.
     Wild hogs (so prevalent in South Texas) gave him few problems because Jack never tried big hogs on his own.  But he would put up a steady chop (bay bark with a steady cadence) till back up arrived.  There’s an old saying that goes “There’s good bulldogs and old bulldogs, but there are no good old bulldogs.”  Unfortunately, Jack fits this description, as he headed out after a wounded deer, in full chase, never to be seen again.
     Did he catch the deer and take a horn?  Or gas out on the run and heat stroke?  No one knows.  The country was too vast and too brushy.  Tate searched for days, not wanting to give up, but the brush had swallowed up Jack.  Tate missed him terribly, but contained his emotions, as all good cowboys do when it comes to the loss of a good horse or a good dog.  Life must go on.  That’s the way it is on the frontiers of this country.  

I'll be off tomorrow.  See you on Monday!

All images and content © Mark Kohler Studio.


  1. Awwww! Bittersweet story! Beautiful portrait, as always. I love how you always manage to capture the soul of animals in your paintings. I don't suppose you'd ever do a post with a photo/painting side by side?

  2. Yes, and just for you! In the next couple of weeks, I'll do that, OK?