Roof Dogs

Living Gargoyles
Living Gargoyles

Everyone in San Miguel, and other villages in Mexico as well, seems to have roof dogs. Most houses have flat roofs which serve as terraces and a place for clothes lines to dry your clothes. They also are a convenient place to keep your dogs that gets them outside and doesn’t require a fence. Some dogs just peer over the side and watch you as you walk by. Others bark and snarl and threaten to leap on your head. We’ve been intimidated by a few roof dogs in our explorations of San Miguel. For a while I carried dog biscuits to throw at them and other stray dogs we’d see around town. They tend to be less threatening if you feed them.

To me the roof dogs always seemed like living gargoyles, strange in their stance and perspective above you. Many of them I felt sad for because they seemed to long for attention. In any case, they came to be representative of a part of the culture where we lived, and I came to expect them.

The painting today is a pair of roof dogs that we saw in Granada, Spain, not San Miguel. Isn’t it strange that the Mexican motherland also has this tradition? Maybe it’s something about having flat roofs. These guys and a buddy of theirs I didn’t paint weren’t terribly intimidating. They looked like old pals and the sentries of their domain. So we felt more at home there in Granada with this familiar sight and Spanish floating through the air.

Living Gargoyles

Watercolor on paper

4.5″ X 5.5″


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