Here is Preston the Welsh Corgi, 12x14" colored pencil on linen, my reference photos. This was a custom portrait created for the best of clients who expressly encouraged me to paint whatever made me happy; thus the unusual angle and wet fur. The client, myself and her two dogs, spent hours walking and photographing at two different locations, until I had many beautiful reference shots from which to choose. My art needs a story and Preston provided one when he unexpectedly followed his housemate, a Labrador Retriever, straight into the river. Corgis are all chest and no legs. Preston had never been beyond wading. He sank like a stone, then bobbed to the surface. The swimming technique, newly minted, added to the hilarity of Preston's alarmed expression, but he arrived safely to the water's edge soaking wet and disgruntled.
You know, this is the most fun I've had in months! And the most interesting part is it is a custom portrait, not something I'm doing for myself or a competition. This is a WIP of Preston, a very wet Welsh Corgi that just discovered that water can swallow you whole. During the photo shoot we took a stroll along the bank of The Little Miami, East Fork Branch. Preston followed his Labrador Retriever housemate straight into the river without a thought. He'd never been in water over his head. He sank like a stone, then bobbed up with an expression of pure shock! Pres isn't entirely sure water is to be trusted ever again! This piece will eventually be 12x14" Painted on lovely blue linen mat with CARAN d"ACHE Luminance, PRISMACOLOR and DERWENT COLOURsoft pencils.
I just finished two small paintings for a lovely client who wished to create the perfect gifts for her two children: table top original portraits of their two dogs. Each child chose a puppy fourteen years ago. They are now gray in the muzzle and a little slower, but otherwise healthy. The children, both in college, miss their pups. I spent a few hours one afternoon, photographing and getting to know the dogs, while also learning about the family and the mom. The photographs and expressions were chosen by her. We wished to capture each dog's personality in a tiny 5x7 head shot. This is not an easy task. In fact, a lot can be lost in one small tick of the pencil. I struggled with these. There was concern that the dog Ed, looking at the viewer and pleading to be petted, might appear to be giving dominant eye contact. Thanks to my husband's suggestion, a touch of dark to the eyebrow made the difference in the perceived expression. The other dog, Lucy held a strange pose which finally necessitated the inclusion of parts of her foreleg; otherwise her head would have seemed tipped over.
I decided to use colored linen mat as the surface to give these a painterly feel. Lucy, who is mostly black, is painted on a dark blue mat and Ed, who has a lot of browns and reds, is on a red mat. Using colored mat board, even if completely covered with pigment, is similar to an under paint wash and provides tone.
When my client finally saw the finished pieces she was completely satisfied. This is a blessing, because I never know what a client will think until they have the art in hand. Now I can relax for a bit and paint something new, something BIGGER.
After many years of doing portrait commissions, I have just recently started to get serious about contracts. For the first decade or so, most of my patrons were local. Many were clients at the veterinary hospital where I was office manager. When the economy plummeted into recession, my portrait commission business slowed as well. I became very aggressive about using social media and internet to make sales. I don't always have the luxury to look a client in the eye. A contract helps both the client as well as the artist. It articulates possibilities that one might forget or be afraid to mention. It spells out the rules. And though it adds time to the initial process (I don't begin a project without both a signed contract and a nonrefundable deposit,) it reduces stress in the long run.
This wonderful Pitbull mix, was a rambunctious, sweet dog and represented the best personality traits of a much misunderstood bloodline. If this portrait sells, part of the proceeds will go to the SPCA ,where many of her kind wait to be adopted. This portrait would never have happened if not for the devoted couple who adopted her as a puppy.
"Waiting," 30x16" Prismacolor Pencils on rag mat board. The reference is mine of course. If you follow my blog and work at all, you will see these three characters crop up often. This is what I imagine dog purgatory to be- that somewhere in between breakfast and when mom gets home. The cat can do as he likes, but for the moment, is interested in something outside. I chose the french grays for inside and full color outside to create an obvious border between dream state and full awareness. I hope it works. I had to try anyway.
Hot Dog was just accepted into "Man's Best Friend" Exhibition at Las Laguna Gallery, March 6th- March 28 http://www.laslagunagallery.com/Read More
The overwhelmingly positive reaction to this painting astonishes me. Who Rescued Whom has been hanging in the library of LSU's School of Veterinary Medicine since the end of March, where it was exhibited in their annual International Exhibition on Animals in Art and won Judge's Award. One person actually cried when she entered the library and saw it for the first time. She said it reminded her of her dad who had just passed. I knew the composition had potential, the day I came upon Willie and Tucker basking together in the afternoon sun of their first few hours together. Their expressions spoke volumes to me. What I didn't expect was that in capturing this moment, I was able to share it in a deep emotional way with complete strangers.
Upon the request of family members I had a professional photographer make giclee prints. The original is awaiting its new home. If you took the time to read this blog and are interested in a print, comment back and I will give you pricing and dimensions. Thanks for reading!
This is "Rude," pronounced Rudy. He belonged to a veterinarian for whom I worked many years. The little 8 x10"painting was a thank you gift for allowing me to advertise my work in the office. The piece was later chosen to be the cover of JAVMA (Journal for the American Veterinary Medical Association.) One of my more popular images, I have sold many Rude prints.