Splash Technique - Groomer to Groomer

Creative Grooming’s Next Big Thing?

Splash Technique

By Kathleen Sepulveda

When most of us think Creative, we think “Poodle” or “lots of fur.”

Allow me to introduce you to Fiona, a 3 year old Harlequin Great Dane who is making it big as a living work of Art. Her personal Artist is owner Summer S. Wilson, owner of So Cal Grooming.

I met Summer through a class I gave at her salon and loved what she and those attending had already produced with basic knowledge in creative grooming. I fell in love with her big Purple Poodle so much that I invited her to participate in a TV show being filmed at Art Of Fur Academy. Summer brought a bevy of beautiful dogs, and friends, and the show moved into the season finale!

During my class and during the TV filming, Summer noticed I was able to keep dye on the short coated legs of my Japanese Chin, Magnum. She loved the shading effect from yellow feet, orange middle to red top! Summer was intrigued as she had a lovely Harlequin Great Dane she had tried to color at a young age, but the color did not take. She studied the application process and decided to give it a try.


What started as just a coloring of the legs has turned into one of the most exciting looks of the year for creative. Ask any colorist with an empty canvas and a bit of extra time, what happens. You keep going and filling your canvas! Fiona enjoyed the extra attention and stood the entire time unrestrained on the table. Once the legs were complete, Summer just kept going, adding colors alongside other colors that complimented each other.  Here is how she did it:

  • First she cleaned Fiona to remove anything coating the fur that could prevent color from being deposited.
  • Start with the color and/or area that will take the longest to process. This was the yellow on the foot.
  • Apply with a medium stiffness Toothbrush and scrub color onto desired area.
  • Start time once all color is applied, process time is 1 hour.
  • Rinse with cool water, one area at a time, very quickly to prevent colors from bleeding into each other.
  • Dry dog completely.
  • Leopard spots were first added with black Chalk Crayon but these only last 24 hours.
  • Bigen Blue Black was applied with a stiff paint brush for the Leopard spots. Set for 45 minutes, or when it turns dark black, and then add 10 more minutes to set in. Rinse with cool water, one area at a time and
    very quickly.
  • For a shimmery effect, apply glitter to your chalk pen immediately. This will also set the chalk pen.

Summer put a few photos up on her FaceBook page and the crowd went wild! I asked her to get professional photos ASAP and bring her, and friends, to Art Of Fur Academy booth at Pasadena Groom Expo. Good thing we had an end cap, as the crowd never ended! Fiona had Rock Star Paparazzi following her!

I asked Summer when she realized she had created probably the hottest trend of the year? It settled in when Angela Kumpe came over to thank her for talking her client into coloring her Harlequin Great Dane. Angela had tried for years to talk her client into something but after seeing Fiona on Facebook, the client called Angela! Then Angela asked to have her photo with Fiona. Well, Summer floated the rest of the weekend.

Fiona has inspired artist K. Forstner to create a “Splash” series of paintings, seen on etsy.com/shop/KForstnerArt. She has also been approached by an animal talent agent for future engagements. Fiona then inspired Summer to approach the shelters most unadoptable dogs, who pass a temperament test, and “Splash” color them. This gets them in homes fast!

Now that Fiona is getting the same amount of grooming time as the Standard poodles (Danes are usually wash and wear), does it bother her? Nope, Fiona is loving the limelight! Check out her Instagram page @famousfiona.

Lastly, Summer wanted Fiona to show that you can simply take any area of grooming talent and make a difference in the life of a dog.

Photos by Jennifer O’Dell Photography

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