Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sally - On her Watch, WestHighland Terrier - Dog Portrait Commission

12 X 16 - Oil on Canvas - SOLD

I rang the bell.  Sally met me at the door and she was immediately very friendly.  I was there to meet her and take photos of her in her backyard for an oil portrait.  We went out in the yard and I discovered that Sally liked to stand on a tall rock and overlook her territory.  She has a magnificent view towards the west overlooking a field, several back yards, and Long's Peak.  My goal was to get her to pose for me up on that rock. I played with her for a few minutes and gave her some treats.  Then I got the camera out and began taking pictures.  I was surprised that she was a little camera shy.  For every 25 shots I took only about two were useable as reference.  She was always on the move, and she is very short so I found myself laying down on the ground a lot.  After about 30 minutes outside with her I had the shots I needed. 

I sent several possible photos to Sally's owner for approval.  After I had a clear direction I produced the above oil painting.  Sally wore a great collar that day and it really helped the portrait to pop.  I put all the paint and important strokes up around her face.  I want the viewers eye to always end up on that great face.  Thanks for the great time Sally!

All the best,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Commissioning a Pet Portrait Painting - Ben + Angie & Mike's Cat, + Emme the Shih-Tzu

Ben - 2011 - 16 x 20 - oil

Anne wanted to honor Ben with a portrait for their family.  I painted Ben from client supplied photos.  I never got a chance to meet him. 

Angie and Mike love Figaro, and she loves them back!  Figaro was adopted by Angie over ten years ago. After being commissioned I went to the house to meet Figaro for the first time.  She made sure I was friendly and then she warmed up.  I shot about 50 photos of Figaro, and Angie provided me with some of her own favorite photos via emailed jpeg images.  We looked at the room Angie planned on hanging the painting (a bithday gift from her husband Mike).  She selected a 14" square format that I would paint on canvas and frame for them. 

When I got home I looked at all the pics and sent them a few to review.  I made suggestions, but it is always up to the client to select the photo upon which the portrait will be based.  We went back and forth via email a few times until they settled on the pose shown in the pic.

As you can see from the finished painting below I try very hard to capture an impression of the pet.  I add color, bold brush strokes and texture to emphasize important areas.  I try to bring attention to the face, eyes and nose while everything else plays a supporting role.  I also try to create a piece of art.  This is not just a pet portrait to me.  I think that is an important distinction.  I am not a pet portrait artist, although there is nothing wrong with that.  I am a painter who loves and respects animals.  I do pet portraits upon request.  I try very hard to capture the beauty of the animal on canvas.  I prefer to meet the pet in person and take some pics, but I have painted many pets from around the country using only pictures that were provided to me. 

Here are some additional examples of the pet portrait work I do.  

Emme - with her ball - 12" square oil on panel

Emme passed in 2010 and the owners daughter purchased a commission pet portrait for them as a surprise gift! 

Olivia 16 x 20 - oil