I’ve been hard at work creating pieces for the Spring Art Auction 2013 and haven’t worked on a pet portrait in a month or so, so I figured we’d take a look back at how Hank’s pet portrait was created. 🙂
I finished Hank sometime in early Fall I think and this one, like many other pet portraits (or paintings in general) didn’t start pretty. After the rough sketch, it was time to filling in some blocks. It helps sorting out what color goes where if I start adding one color first. Then I could see where the darker shades, and shading would go.
It’s takes until I’m adding the details that the dog looks somewhat of a dog, but the groundwork sets it all up so you can never underestimate any portion in the process. I have to admit, it’s always nice when the first layer or two are finished. It’s like a hump you have to get over and then the more fun parts starts – at least for me the fun is in the details.
My usual workstation! My easel is always next to my desk, and both are close to my window so I can take advantage of as much day light as possible (if i’m working during the day). I spend so much time alone in my studio, and I LOVE silence, but often I find myself with a show to keep me company. You know I often have Downton Abbey on but recently it’s been many different shows, before out of Sweden and the UK. Shows serve a little bit as a timer for me. When an hour is over, I know it’s time to probably move a little…grab a snack or something. I often get lost in the painting and forget how demanding it is on my body to sit in one position for so long.
And here’s the finished piece! Adding the details is the most time consuming part of the process… and I love details. I’ve painted my whole life and I’m a faster painter because of that but you can’t stress details, and all my clients deserves the best of me and my brush. I could easily paint a less detailed version but I appreciate when the bouquet or the pet almost comes alive on the canvas. Pet portraits comes in many styles these days and I admire many of the artists working on them but I know this is the way I want my pieces to be represented – alive and realistic.
This piece received raving reviews by the wife and the husband who received it as a birthday gift. It made me almost cry just hearing how emotional he had been. He even had to leave the room to gather himself. Hank was a rescue dog that his wife had taken home after volunteering at a shelter one day. Her husband wasn’t sure how to be around a dog or even how to talk to him, but they quickly became best friends – his wife jokingly said the dog was his biggest love and she, her husband’s second. Hank passed away not too long before this painting was created.
I’m so grateful for what I do.