Number 5 of the FCI newsletter is ready, although somewhat later than usual. But, as number 6 is already in the pipeline and will be out soon, we will be able to present you with six issues a year as promised. Together with my partners Marie Luna Duran and Yves De Clercq we have worked hard to keep you informed on a regular basis about what goes on in the world of the FCI. As if starting up a newsletter was not enough, there were also the festivities to celebrate the FCI Centenary Year with the FCI Centenary Champion of Champions Show and the Cynological Days recently held in Brussels as the highlight. In the next issue we will focus on this event only, with a full report and lots of photos. I realize that it was not just an exhausting year for us, but for everyone who has worked hard to make all this happen, especially all the people who helped organizing the different events...

Read more

Member of the Editorial Board of the FCI Newsletter

Interview with Monique van Wijk

Hi Monique, could you please introduce yourself in a nutshell?

After finishing my education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam in 1986, I started as a painter. Portraits have been my specialty since then. First only human portraits, but as Bull Terrier Fancy came into my life in 1993, I started painting dogs as well.

Monique, you have been cooperating with the FCI on several projects, like some illustrations for the FCI brand new Judging Manual (launched in Leeuwarden, on the occasion of the EDS) or the portraits of some of FCI's main figures (exhibited in the lobby of the WTC hotel in Leeuwarden, also on the occasion of the EDS). Can you tell us about this work?

In the beginning of my presence (with the works) at international dog shows, the FCI already asked me to make two paintings for the headquarters in Thuin. A portrait of a Viszla and a big painting with three Sighthounds are hanging there.

© Vince Hogan, Our Dogs

The last six years, I've been asked to paint portraits on order for the FCI, as gifts on the occasion of several jubilees of kennel clubs. The VDH (DE) got a painting with 8 German breeds on it, the Austrian, Swiss and American kennel clubs got a painting, each with a breed from their country.

Recently, I have made some illustrations (drawings) for the judging manual and painted portraits of 4 Presidents and 3 General Secretaries; you could see the latter exhibited in Leeuwarden. These portraits (two more are still under construction) later this year will hang in Thuin as well.

How did you come to the "dog world"? What is your motivation behind your artistic activity in the "dog world"?

The way I make my portraits has never been seen in the dog world. People were mostly used to see classical portraits, with one colour in the background. In my work the dog is coming out of an almost abstract background; the colours play an important role to create the specific sphere of the dog and his owner. Besides, showing the character of the dog, the painting itself is a piece of art. The first time I (as a visitor) visited a dog exhibition I immediately knew that this was what I wanted to do: to show my work to this public. Painting dog portraits on order started!

What is your favourite breed and why? What does your dog companion bring into your life?

I started with "my breed" at that moment: the Bull Terrier. In a Bull Terrier you find so many starting points to make a very expressive piece of work. I still have a big feeling of love for the breed, although after Fancy died (at 14) I didn't want a new one. Afraid I would compare him or her with my pet... After living with a hunting mixed-breed dog and two Miniature Teckels, there now is a Kings Poodle (called Nel) in my life. Without her, my life would not be complete. She's my companion everywhere. Also at the shows where I am, presenting my work in a stand. She's a poodle, shaved in one length and gets the attention of people all the time and everywhere. Not a showing dog, but Nel is almost my mascot at the show...

Are some breeds more difficult to depict and why?

Painting dogs, for me there's no difference between the breeds. Every breed and every single dog has its own expression and special being. They're all different and all unique. That's why it is so much joy painting them; the challenge to give that expression!

© Monique van Wijk

How do you deal with the illustration of a breed to reach a "picture perfect" illustration? By the way, is there something like a "picture perfect" illustration of a breed, in your opinion?

Over the years, I learned a lot about "the ideal" standards. Where in photographs sometimes it's hard to show exactly how it could be, in an illustration you are able to change details. Although it stays difficult to "make a dog" in which every specialised person can find him- or herself seeing the ideal dog...

What is the difference between painting a human being and painting a dog?

If you paint a human being, you have to deal with another "psychology"... Dogs don't see themselves and have no complains about themselves…:-) A bigger difference is that dogs exist in so many different looks. It's easier to catch their characteristic. In a human portrait, if you paint for example one line underneath an eye a bit too dark, one immediately looks ten years older. It takes more time to give the right expression in a human face (there are no people with very long ears or noses, nor do they have noses about 20 centimetres, or eyes you cannot see... :-)

If you had to choose among your paintings only one portrait and only one breed illustration, which one would it be and why?

No answer... you can see some of my favourites on the website ( Next year a special page will be made about the FCI works.

What would be your message to dog lovers for the next 100 years of the FCI?

Love your dogs. You're alone without them.

Make sure your dog can be a dog.

See it the way it is. Its beauty is in its nature.

Atelier/studio : Leeghwaterstraat 43a, NL-1221 BC Hilversum.
Tél. : +31- (0)6 40 27 22 87

Marie Luna Durán
FCI Marketing and Public Relations Manager