Saturday, March 28, 2015

Ron Burns

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In 1991, Ron Burns turned to painting as an artistic respite from his dog-eat-dog corporate career in marketing and design. Looking down at his beloved mutt, the self-taught artist found his muse. “I was looking for something I could paint that would inspire me for the rest of my life,” says Burns, 58, whose Burns Studio is based in Scottsdale. “When I started, no one else was doing it. It was like a new art movement.”

Since then, Burns has painted more than 1,000 canines in his bright signature style, and his acrylic- and oil-painted pooches have been featured everywhere from the Ground Zero Museum Workshop in New York to the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition TV series. So what makes a “Burns dog” so distinct? Chiefly, it’s the way he blends three different styles. He uses a realistic approach to depict the animal’s soulful eyes as well as its nose, mouth and tongue, which may appear moist on canvas. The coat of the dog is painted with broad, abstract strokes, and the background takes on a pop complexion.    

The Dogs of Ron Burns, featuring more than 20 of his paintings, runs through the dog days of summer, May 3-August 11, at Mesa Contemporary Arts in Mesa Arts Center (1 E. Main St.). “[The show] features everything from my first dog painting all the way through to my current commissions,” explains Burns, who is represented by Scottsdale’s Bonner David Gallery. “It will touch on the things that have shaped me along the way.” For more information, visit