Tillamook Cheddar, a Jack Russell Terrier from Brooklyn, New York, is widely regarded as the world's preeminent canine artist. Over a 14-year career she had more than 20 solo exhibitions in the U.S., Europe, and Bermuda. Tillie's terrestrial life came to an end on January 29, 2014, twelve days after her 15th birthday.
The artist's primary process was a dynamic color transfer technique. In preparation for each of Tillie's works, her assistants assembled a touch-sensitive recording device by affixing pigment-coated vellum to a block of watercolor paper, with a sheet of clear mylar on top, to insulate the artist from the paint medium. Working on the outside surface, she applied pressure with teeth and claws in a methodic ritual marked by dramatic shifts in tempo and intensity. The resultant sharp and sweeping intersecting lines complement the artist's delicate paw prints and subtle tongue impressions, composing an expressionistic image revealed on the paper once the outer layers of vellum and mylar have been removed. She worked with shocking intensity, sometimes to the point of destroying her creations.
In July 2005 the artist gave birth to six healthy puppies. One of her sons, Doc Chinook Strongheart Cheddar, continued to live with her until her death. Doc lives on, but thus far he has not followed his mother in her artistic forays.
Her first official biography, Portrait of the Dog as a Young Artist by F. Bowman Hastie III, is published by Sasquatch Books (2006).