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The Inspiration behind my 2018 Inktober

For this years for Inktober challenge, I decided to do something a little different. Rather than completing a small drawing everyday for the month of October as traditional, I challenged myself to create a large scale piece and share my progress on Instagram throughout the month. I've wanted to do a large scale ink drawing for a while, but commissions and general day to day life admin often take priority so I never seem to have the time for personal projects. I thought Inktober would be the perfect opportunity for me to MAKE the time to finally put my ideas on paper! I spent most evenings and weekends squirreling away on this bad boy, my own take on a postcard of the Hospice du Grand St-Bernard. It just shows what you can achieve by doing just a little each day.

I spent a good few months thinking about the sort of piece I would like to create but this idea immediately sprung out at me. I had come across this place while researching a blog post last year about brave dogs.The Great St Bernard Hospice (Hospice du Grand St-Bernard) is tucked away in the Swiss Alps and was originally a monastery that provided refuge for cold, lost and weary travelers. It is also where the St Bernard dog breed was first created. Originally bred to be guard dogs for the Monastery, they were later used as mountain rescue dogs as they were strong enough to cross deep snow drifts and had the ability to track lost travelers by scent. The dogs are traditionally depicted as carrying a small flask of brandy around their necks to revive travelers.

The most famous of the Hospice's dogs was an early variant of the St Bernard named Barry der Menschenretter (people rescuer in German). There are many legends surrounding Barry, but the most famous is the rescue of a young boy lost in the snow. He licked his hands and face to keep him warm, then carried him on his back down the mountain to the safety of the Hospice. This act of bravery was immortalised in a monument which stands opposite the entrance to the Cimetiere des Chiens pet cemetery in Paris.

In his honor, one dog at the Hospice is always named Barry, and his preserved body can be seen at the Natural History Museum of Bern, Switzerland.

I hope you like the finished piece, my own tribute to Barry and enjoyed following along with my Inktober this month.


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