I was the official artist of the National Retriever Club and National Amateur Retriever Club from 2001 - 2013. Every year I painted the National Open Retriever Champion and the National Amateur Retriever Champion, which was donated to the owner or handler of the winning dog. In 2001, I came up with the idea of painting the winning dog and discussed it with my good friend Dennis Bath, who made the sponsorship a reality. Dennis played a major part in helping me get my foot in the door with the clubs as an artist. For a few years, both portraits were underwritten by the Iams Company. Mark Medford was gracious to underwrite one of the paintings in 2013. The works varied in oil, acrylic or watercolor, and sometimes featured the winning handler with the dog. Many of the portraits feature friends of mine that I knew professionally when I worked for Tri-Tronics and Iams, so it was a pleasure to give back to the sport in which I had so many friends. The first portrait was a watercolor of Jim Powers and Candlewood's Ramblin' Man (Ram.) When Ram won the second time, I asked Jim what I should do for an encore. I think Jim said just to paint the same thing again. I had a couple weeks to come up with something, and decided to paint a quick head portrait of Ram, which along with my painting of Patton, became one of my most popular portraits - even appearing on licensed Ducks Unlimited t-shirts. The national portraits continue, painted by another artist, but I am proud to say I came up with the original idea that helped get the ball rolling.
"Chris Chantland's ability to accurately capture in his paintings, the likeness, athleticism, and personality of our Labradors is truly amazing."
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