Thank you all so much for your generous and kind comments!
I am thrilled with the results - a little disappointed in how my representation turned out, so I've taken him to a professional photographer to have him photographed and I should be able to get a much better color representation from that photo scan.
Andy's mom is quite pleased with the likeness, she has been such a great help in making sure that I nailed every AKC judges key areas for a perfect Chocolate Lab. I am so grateful to her for that!
Gnu: I blend with turp, either after I lay down the color(s) or I go right from the stick.
Tanya: I love it that my work is inspiring enough for you to try out OP's! I really love them, and I love creating such deep hues from multiple sticks. It's a lot like blending from the tube, but I feel like I have more control using OP's this way. I hope to see something from you in OP soon! And just in case I miss it on the board please feel free to send me a message and let me know when you've put something up!
Sharon: You nailed the symbolism of the piece. The AKC/Eukanuba Championship is in Long Beach, CA. This is a view of Long Beach from across the bay, and I've replaced the tallest building (usually the most significant in the landscape in my opinion) with the AKC Trophy.
Thanks again, all! I will try to remember to get back here and post a better scan from the photo. (crossing my fingers that it turns out great!)