|This is the story of Pagau and his paintings. Pagau was born in China and was rescued as a tiny puppy by my daughter who was teaching in a poor, rural area of Hunan Province. To spare his life, she purchased him for several Yuan or two American dollars and found herself the owner of a puppy in an area with no veterinarians, pet shops or even pet food for hundreds of miles. After many suggestions, her students named him Pagau which means black dog in Mandarin Chinese. She raised him on pork, vegetables and rice and a few care packages from family.
Over the next few months it became apparent that getting him home to the US would not be easy but Nicky took on the challenge and after traveling hundreds of miles and zigzagging all around China for official papers to be stamped, Pagau and Nicky finally made it to Beijing for his final agricultural inspection with just hours to spare before their flight home. After 60 hours of traveling on buses, trains, airplanes, taxis and finally a ferry to the San Juan Islands in Washington State, he arrived home at last with his head held high and tail wagging and was then just five months old.
He happily settled into his new home and it wasn't long before we noticed he was growing up to look exactly like an imaginary dog I had been painting for about a year. I began to observe and paint Pagau's moments of contemplation and his story now unfolds visually through his discoveries. There are now over sixty paintings in the series and I donate many to animal welfare organizations for fund raising events in hopes that our good fortune can be shared by others as well. Pagau is two years old now and rice is still his favorite food.