Ode to Chocolate

Ode to Chocolate – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

I’ve just completed Ode to Chocolate. This painting is a sweet valentine to our childhood family dog, a standard poodle named Chocolate. My twin sister and I grew up with him; he was such a sweetie, he soaked up all the loving attention we gave him.

He was the second standard poodle our family had, the first, Impy had been stolen a few years earlier. My dad had trained him to hunt and always said Impy was the best hunting dog he had ever had. Standard poodles are fun, intelligent and make great hunting dogs. Unfortunately for Chocolate, while still a puppy, the boys next door threw a firecracker over the backyard wall which when he went to fetch, it exploded in his face. After that point he was a bit emotionally wounded as he understandably became more timid and very frightened of any loud sounds. Sadly for my dad, he was never able to train him to hunt.

Dad used to say he became a mamma’s boy. Mom did a good job of caring for him, she had a book on various poodle hair cut styles, I remember her shaving him with an electric shaver. As we got older we would help give him baths. In those days dogs ran free, Chocolate would go in and out whenever he liked, ringing the bells on the door to let us know. We spent a lot of time outside in the yard playing with him. Most nights he would be in next to one of our beds sleeping. I have such happy memories of Chocolate and all the love he gave us.

Free Falling

Free Falling

Sometimes in life when we have big decisions to make, it can be scary.  Like the time in my twenties after a bad break up, I decided to move to NYC with only 500 dollars in my pocket.

These thoughts have come to mind as I have recently celebrated being married to my husband for 20 years now and am feeling happy about that.  That 20th year anniversary marker got me thinking about the choices we make in life and how those choices carry us forward.    It was scary for me to make that marriage commitment all those years ago. When I found out I was pregnant, even though we had decided to have a child it was frightening, I didn’t know how to be a mom.

Once those decisions were made I just had to let go and trust that my intuition would carry me forward.  I loved living in New York, that experience led to meeting my husband.  Marrying him led us to creating a life together and then to our daughter who we love dearly and who has added so much to our lives.

I wanted to do a painting that describes that feeling.  I’ve titled it Free Falling.  It’s a painting of a barn swallow diving through the air.  If you have ever watched  swallows swoop through the air catching mosquitoes, it is mesmerizing.  They swoop down and then curve back through the sky with no effort at all.   I have found that once a commitment is made if we let go and trust, we can follow the currents and they will lead us forward.

Print Available here.