It's been awhile since since I've painted a dog portrait without it being a commission. This one went quick. I completed it in two painting sessions, and I achieved the somewhat abstracted, somewhat off-kilter look I was aiming for. The simple orange/blue color scheme works great. What else can I say: I am pleased with this painting. (video of the painting process will be uploaded to my YouTube channel in a few short hours) Contact me if interested in purchasing this painting or commissioning one of your own.
I started this one at the December New Orleans Arts Market. The background changed a few times---from dark to light, from busy to sparse to a combination of the two. I was happy with the four dogs from the beginning, outlining everything in black gave it an immediate abstract quality and adding blocks of color only added to that effect.
Another dog commission. This time I took snapshots along the way. Enjoy (and forgive all the "thens").
I started off with a pencil sketch, something which I don't typically bother with. Then I traced over the soft graphite with black paint. Then began filling in with color, starting with mid-tones, then with the lighter, highlighted areas. The second to last shot is nearly to a finished state but does not look close enough to the subject in the reference photo---all that's left is details. Final shot is the finished painting.
This week I had five commissioned paintings to work on for five different people---most of them intended as Christmas presents so I was never really swamped---but it was enough on my plate to get me motivated to finish a few of these post-haste. If nothing else it would clear the way for new commissions between now and the end of the year.
The painting below was one of the five, and it was the largest of them at 24x18". The reference photo dictated, in some way, the style of the painting as it was low on detail and awash in sunlight. The first decision I had to make was whether to change things up a bit---I didn't mind the overall design but the sunlit sofa could be darkened or I could have altered its color (this would have had a great effect on the painting and, though it could have improved things, I decided to start by replicating the feel of the photo).
Per usual, I went right in with paint, roughing in the positions of the two dogs and the lines of the sofa. The painting came together quickly and I found this somewhat loose, abstract style to be a good fit for the subject matter. The German shepherd in the foreground worked for me right away--in fact most of its body is made up of paint from my first pass on the painting. The proportionally small beagle in the background gave me a little trouble but a shortening of its size and a reshaping of its head made the thing work in the end. The only other major thing that needed changing was defining the shape of the sofa more clearly and creating a darker boundary for the top and bottom of the painting, in the form of the gray shadowy areas and the line along the top---this just helped to hem in the piece so that the two reclining dogs weren't just floating untethered in a sea of white. I also added a touch of color (red-orange and blue-green) in the edges as well, repeating the colors of the dogs and unifying the otherwise monochromatic painting.
In my opinion, the finished piece turned out magnificently, and I am pleased to report that the client loves the painting!
Thanks to a reference photo emailed to me yesterday, I am pleased to present "Weimaraner" [and now I know how to spell the name too!]. Employing some of the same techniques I used in my Great Dane painting (which can be found on the gallery page), the painting came to a nice balance point fairly quickly. I kept the piece fresh and light, careful not to overwork it and I'm pleased with the drips still present and the visible pencil work.
I met this basset hound at the last New Orleans Arts Market in Palmer Park. His name is Virgil.
quick sketch from a photo.
It's been a month since my last post. Huh. So it goes.
Here's a painting I did of a bulldog.
This is a commission I painted a few months ago. I took photos along the way and thought I'd share a bit of my painting process for you here.
First off, the reference photo. Here's the photo I was working with. Ideally, the photo should encapsulate the basic layout of the painting itself. Photography after all is an artistic pursuit in its own right. This photo was taken in landscape but I want a portrait-oriented canvas---not so bad as this was the only major change I needed to make.
I usually don't make a drawing before starting in with the paint. Here my main goal is to cover the canvas with paint---I am trying to capture the placement of the subject but only roughly [and knowing I will be changing and perfecting anything I paint at this stage].
Once the shapes are roughed out and the canvas is covered with paint, I start the process of reshaping the form into something more akin to the photo. The client wanted a nondescript background with vibrant reds and yellows, so I laid it on thick, adding dramatic lighting by suggesting shadows on the ground [notice, there are actually little if any indications of a light source on the dog's body itself---if I wanted a more realistic representation, I would definitely address this issue perhaps by retaking reference photos with a light source coming from the left].
I usually do not like to leave dead spots in my paintings---places where there is a single unvaried color---notice how the white of the chest and the tan of the back are both mottled with gray, indicating fur and making those areas more interesting. And of course, the background is a mishmash of undulating color.
I am pleased with the final painting, though it took a bit of time toward the final stages getting the details right. I focus most of my attention in the later stages on the face, since this is the focal point of the painting and the focal point is where most of the details should reside. Other important parts of the painting---the carefully attenuated feet and the dramatic shadows beneath those feet---make the entire surface of the painting important to the viewer. The eye moves from the focal point to the interesting background, to the feet and shadows, then return to the features of the face.