Artist Louise Craigie with Dalmatian Missy - Skylos Collective luxury dog collars, leads and poo bag holders

Artistic Collaboration: Skylos Collective X Artist Louise Craigie

Louise is a Suffolk based artist, wife, mother to (humans and a Dalmatian ) and has been a head of arts faculty for over 20 years.

As an artist, Louise’s work has always been about colour and mark making – capturing the beauty from the landscapes which surround her. Her work is clearly an expressive exploration of the landscape but more recently has pushed into abstraction, with each of her paintings broken down into basic forms. The landscapes provide Louise with the composition in which she then explores mood and feelings in a different way once back in the studio.

For Louise, art is something to get lost in, to enjoy the “Now” and not to use as a measurement to judge her worth or value. Her work is created in the moment without an end goal in mind. Thus, she will paint and create no matter what and as she says: “Art is something purely for me, it is a part of who I am”.

Her beloved 10-year-old Dalmatian, Missy, is a core part of her family and Louise is keen to point out: “I don’t ‘do’ dog drawings, paintings or work inspired by Missy,  but not because I don’t love her.”

However, the gorgeous Dalmatian does influence her work, since having Missy, Louise and her family have explored more landscapes on their walks. As a larger dog, with lots of energy, big walks are a necessity and to avoid boredom, Louise and Missy have mixed up their walks over the years, which in turn has bought many familiar and new landscapes to Louise’s consciousness.

Leading her to see landscapes in a different way Louise has found herself taking photos and doing quick spontaneous drawings with a sharpie felt tip and a small pad. “So, by default, I found myself creating multiple organic, energetic, and simplified drawings. These were pinned up in the studio and then with my photos and my own sense of colour I found myself taking on a new style, so I guess she had some sort of an impact!”

Creativity is a feeling, a coming together of a series of conscious and subconscious moments. For Louise, there is no one place or one thing that stirs her. She feels inspired at exhibitions, when teaching, on dog walks, even feeling creative when trying to go to sleep! Incredibly, she sees inspiration at nearly everything she looks at, getting ideas for a drawing, colour, composition, or a piece of work, but has to wait for a time to be free of other commitments. When the time is right, Louise lets it all come together without force and pressure but with flow and energy.

“The motivation to create is always there,” she says. “So, I have to let the ideas and energy out, art is just an intrinsic part of my life and who I am.”

There are no hidden messages, topics, political statements, agendas to Louise’s work, or at least, none that she is aware of. Fundamentally, she believes “the overarching focus is to keep looking, look at something you see every day and seeing it is like it is for the first time. Can you see it in a different way? Can you take it apart and put it back together in a way that means something to you? Taking any form of inspiration, object, moment, landscape, memory and portraying it in a way that only you feel, you see, you experience as the artist. The rest after that point once it’s on the paper or canvas, or created is beyond my control.”

It has been a pleasure to get to know Louise and her work in greater detail. We now move onto the important work of interviewing Missy the Dalmatian.

What are your thoughts on your Mum’s art?
I personally love the black and white elements of her work! Not sure why (LOL) and I have to say I love the energy; it matches my boundless energy. Her passion to get out and about to capture the images for her work, well that works for me too; especially as I get to run about and sniff so many different places. I guess all I know is that I am happy and so is she in these moments and that feels good.

Do you like to hang out with your mum while she paints?
I do, I like to be near someone quite a lot, I am not needy, but maybe she’s better qualified to answer that. I just love my family. But I am not sure if she always likes me being in her studio, I think I get in the way and she always gets a little frustrated when she has to keep letting me in and out, again not sure why this is a problem? But on some occasions when she is sat looking at her work, she likes me by her side and talks to me about the work (I have no idea what she is on about, but I love the cuddles).

If you had a job, what would it be?
Well I get called Marshall (some fire dog or something) all the time when I am on my walks or I get asked where the other 100 are? Very strange!

Is there a job that involves watching squirrels? I know I would be good at that. If not, Mum always says I am a good poser for pictures so maybe I would be a model!

Do you love the limelight or are you a tad more reserved?

I love being the centre of attention, going from one person to the next and then the next! Knocking everyone and everything over with my tail. I am not very vocal, but I make my presence felt in other ways. (Although when I am in my bed it is best to leave me alone, I get a little grumpy! apparently)

What's your favourite colour?
These aren’t colours I know but it has to be black and white of course, but I do quite like a pop of colour on my collar! Why, because it looks so fabulous on my spots of course.

Do you have any special tricks or skills?  I just italicised the question to be consistent with above.
No, but I am just super cute. Oh, I am actually quite good at kidding myself that I am a small dog to try and get onto the laps of my owners, but they don’t fall for it!

Tell us a funny fact about yourself!  As above.
My family thinks I love them the most, but I love food more!!

And what do you think about taking walks in the rain?
No and NO.....I mean I will go of course, but I stay near whoever has the umbrella. I have heard them talking about getting one of those dog jacket things, not sure how I feel about that!

Tell us about your perfect walk?
Sun, but not super-hot, lots of open spaces and maybe a little stream or two. I like walks best when they are long and when I meet some lovely other friendly dogs to play with. What I love most is when all four members of my family come with me, when they run with me, stroke me, throw sticks for me (that actually I never get - LOL) and when one of them remembers some treats for me. These are my favourite times when we are all together.

What's your fav thing your owner does?
There is no doubt that when they do allow me onto their beds, which are so fluffy, I get the best cuddles and feel so comfortable and loved - but this doesn’t happen too often, as apparently, I shed lots of hair!

Thank you, to Louise and Missy – we have loved getting to know you both better. Louise can be found @madebyme_louisecraigie and at - Missy can be found snoozing.


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