By Joyell Nevins
Local artist Rebecca Reeb and the San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) teamed up to make dogs, cats, and people that own them happy, too. Reeb is an acrylic painter who made a business of painting “fur babies,” the animals in people’s lives that feel like their children. She shared those services with SDHS for its annual Fur Ball this month, a dog-friendly, black-tie gala. Both the silent auction and awards featured Reeb’s work.
Each ball names an Honoree and Pet Star, and for 2018, part of the award was a Reeb painting of the animals — unbeknownst to the honoree. Pet Star Olive, owned by Michael and Dee Anne Canepa, is now forever depicted on canvas.
Honoree Colleen Blackmore Reilly owns three rescue dogs — golden retriever Frisco, lab Buddy, and chihuahua Nico. When SDHS members presented Reilly the painting of her dogs, she started to cry.
“The painting so accurately depicted my boys and their personality that it brought tears to my eyes,” Reilly recalled.
Reeb was moved too. “It was so sweet,” she said.
That painting is now in a proud place on Reilly’s mantle. Reeb understands the pride and love for a canine. She is a lover of “any animal, everywhere.”
“What’s not to love,” Reeb quipped. “An animal will love you no matter what. They bring so much joy.”
Reeb currently owns two fur babies, a springer spaniel named Julia and a cat named Puddy Tat. Two long-standing pets of hers recently passed away, German shepherd Baron and a Samoyed, Greta. They were more than 13- and 14-years-old, respectively.
Baron and Greta were stars in Reeb’s first foray into animal painting — illustrating the dogs for wine labels. Her husband grows grapes and makes his own wine (for family use, not retail). For fun, Reeb designed two different labels, the first featuring Baron as the Pope for “Chateau Woof du Paw,” a play on the French wine Chateanuef-du-Pape. The English translation is “the Pope’s new castle.”
The label was one of the featured stickers in the 2013 Wine Maker Magazine’s annual label contest.
Greta and another dog, Sobe, were stars in the second label, “Fruit Bomb.” A World War II style-plane drops loads of grapes on the two dogs and a woman with outstretched arms. This time, the label was a Silver Medalist in the Wine Maker Magazine’s contest.
Reeb grew from painting labels to canvas, and from painting her own dogs to painting for business clients. She noted that no matter how many she completes, each painting is unique.
“I love that it’s a different subject each time,” Reeb said. “Each animal has a different personality.”
Reeb also donates a percentage of each painting’s proceeds to the animal charity of the client’s choice.
“It’s my little way of helping,” Reeb said. “I do what good I can.”
To see more of Reeb’s work or to book her services, visit originalpetpaintings.com or call 619-994-6559. For more information about the San Diego Humane Society, visit sdhumane.org.