Although these works are highly sought after, they are few and far between, and it’s with good reason once you understand the process behind their creation. The iconic black dog that you will see in many of David’s outback works depicts Bogart, his childhood pet. Bogart was a true companion and close friend to David throughout his youth – smart, watchful, protective and ever present, he was never far from David’s side and would often travel across town in search of David if he was ever left behind at home.
In this sensational series, Bogart lives on as the feature character and will usually make several appearances across each artwork, giving the impression he is still on a search for David. Finding Bogart amongst the paint however, is not an easy task. Interestingly, David’s Black Dog paintings were inspired by left over and cast off paint from his easel and palette. At the end of each day, David often found he was left with extra paint on his pallet and, not wanting to throw it away, he began scraping it onto spare canvas. This initial building process took place over six to eight months, or until the canvas was so thick with cast off paint that the frame it was stretched on could barely support itself. At this stage, David began working on balancing the piece with paints straight from the tube. Satisfied with the composition and colour, he then began bringing the work to life by embellishing the artwork with enamel paints tipped straight from the can.
In the final stages, after drying, several small black dogs (representing Bogart) were cleverly and randomly painted amongst the folds and drizzles of paint.
During the creation process for this series, David’s hope was that the viewer could become actively involved in their visual experience as they began their own search for each painted dog. The Black Dog concept has now become hugely successful with collectors, however, due to their thick layers of oil paint and lengthy creation process, there are generally only 1 to 4 of these pieces available per year.