MAN’s best friend is to be honoured in Dunfermline with a colourful exhibition of oil portraits.

The gallery will suspend its no dogs policy for one night only for the private viewing of Laura Graham’s special show at Fire Station Creative on Thursday.

Guests are allowed to bring their four-legged friends along for the preview before the public get their chance to see the Belfast artist’s work from Friday.

Laura said: “When I paint portraiture, whether human or animal, I reach another level of understanding of that being. I was entranced by the soulfulness in the eyes of the dogs.

“Their hearts are wells of emotion and love, and in their eyes we can see that deep, deep sense of selflessness and wisdom.

“To paraphrase the photographer Patrick Demarchelier, the dog is the perfect portrait subject. He does not pose. He is not aware of the painter.

“Equally, no-one can resist the charm of a dog.

“They have been the subject matter of artists since earliest times, depicted as faithful friends, as hunting dogs of the aristocracy and as allegories for myth and legends, loyal protectors.

“Whether our world is improved or much the same, the fact remains, dogs are without ego, and in their boundless joy our own is increased. In this spirit I chose to depict the dogs as fine oil paintings on linen and by using block colours for the background, it allowed me the opportunity to play with the idea of their personalities.”

Laura has not only had a stellar career as a multi award-wining artist and film-maker – in 2012, she won ‘Best Director for International Short Film’ at the Canberra Short Film Festival – but is also a qualified solicitor.

Although originally from Kirkcaldy, she is delighted to be exhibiting in a town that the describes as being the “heart of Fife”.

She added: “In recent months I have had a chance to get to know Dunfermline again, the beauty of the old town centre, the abbey and palace, and I realise I didn’t know it at all.

“I feel the history taught to us as children in Scotland failed to imprint the importance of this town so I am very glad to be able to reacquaint with it and I am grateful to be able to show my paintings in the heart of Fife.”

Ian Moir, curator, said: “I think this show will be very popular with our visitors since there are so many dog lovers in Dunfermline. The portraits are expertly-painted and capture the beauty of many different breeds.”

The show will run from Friday and finishes on Sunday, July 1. Entry is free.