Phoebe & Mozzie: A Pugapaloosa Painting for Christmas


PHOEBE AND MOZZIE CHRISTMAS PRESENT COMMISSIONS DECEMBER 2019 Gayla Smith/Smith Girl Arts Happy pet stories warm my heart. We all know there is a dark side to the fate of some of these innocent souls, so I love to get a story that ends in "happy tails".

Such is the story of Phoebe and Mozzie, two pugs who found their way into an extremely loving home and two pugs who won the "dog lottery". My dear friend, Jamie Whetstone Wells, was still living in Texas prior to Christmas 2019. Jamie and I have had a friendship made of diamonds and memories that will always be with me.

We have shared music, Red Wench gigs, life and stolen moments. Jamie asked me to do a painting of each of her pugs for her husband, Wil. for Christmas. It was CRUCIAL that I pleased the Wells family! She sent me a LOT of pictures full of expressions and faces with stories to tell. Lots of pictures help me to capture the spirit of the animal and what they may be saying to us with their sweet gazes into the camera. Also, having many pictures in certain lighting assists me in color choices that more accurately authenticate the animal's "look". Mozzie was the most difficult. Mozzie is very black in color and in most shots either looks forlorn or absolutely clownish. I always look for that ONE shot that tells me what I need to know to paint the picture. One of the shots had Mozzie on a polka dotted blanket ( I love polka dots ) looking so submissively at whomever was taking the shot. It helped to use some grays and whites to make defining cuves in Mozzie's body. It was a learning challenge to capture the necessary definition and melting expression. The shot I chose to work from for Phoebe had what I viewed as an "oh crap, why in the world am I in this giant flower pot?" look. The expression was that of temporary worry, yet priceless, as she was standing in this colorful pot showing off her "beige tan". I loved doing the colors in the pot and surrounding the pup with blue to pop out her very neutral coat. Jamie has since moved with her husband and pugs back into the heart of the Buckeye state landing a great job and a brand new life on our home turf. I know her family is overjoyed about this. "I second that emotion". Friends for life. Partners in crime. More memories to make. Thank you for the commissions, Jamie. I was so happy to hear that Wil loved the work when he received the paintings for Christmas. YAY. Phoebe and Mozzie landed in heaven when they met the Wells family. Back story per Jamie on each pug is below.

MOZZIE Jamie and Will had been together for about 5 years, and had been talking about getting a dog, but they wanted to make sure they were truly ready for the commitment. That spring, Jamie's family dog (Pugsley) passed away, which led Jamie's sister (Johanna) to start the search for a new companion in the shape of another pug. Johanna found a woman in Kentucky who happened to have two pug puppies who were bonded — a girl and a boy — and reached out to her. Before Jamie and Will knew it, they had been talked into getting one of the puppies and were buying all the dog paraphernalia you can think of. Enter Mozzie. Mozzie is a goofy little snort factory with an underbite that will make you smile every time. He has more personality than any dog Jamie and Will have ever known and loves his humans. Mozzie makes more pig and gremlin noises than dog, and he is often a sassy little princess. He is spoiled rotten and treated like a human child.


Jamie and Will had had Mozzie (black pug) for almost a year when they decided he needed a buddy, especially for when they had to leave the house for hours at a time. They had recently moved to South Padre Island, TX, and because of Jamie's work with the local animal shelter she was connected with a pug rescue based out of Houston. That's where they found Phoebe. Phoebe was rescued from a backyard breeder who no longer wanted her when she gave birth to still born puppies. Phoebe was skinny, timid and didn't know what toys or real affection were. Mozzie wasn't too sure about sharing his kingdom with Phoebe at first, but they quickly became best buddies. Jamie and Will were able to fatten Phoebe up pretty quick, and now she has all the toys (she LOVES hedgehogs), chewies, and belly rubs she could ever want. Her personality has continued to unfold over the past few years as she's settled into her new family, which has been a wonderful journey for Jamie and Will to witness.

COMMISSIONS: If interested in commissioning a painting of your pet, or any other subject matter you may want to capture, please contact me at for pricing and info. Thanks! Gayla