A Murder of Magpies.

WIP painting of Magpie stack by artist Diane Young

This idea has been in mind for quite some time and it does feel good to have at last completed the painting.

This balancing act has to appear to be believable and so getting each bird in a convincing position was tricky but I think it works.

The above is a  work-in-progress pic and the finished painting is shown below.

Painting of 3 Magpies by artist Diane Young

 

A group of magpies have more than one name – a congregation, or a murder, I have also seen them referred to as a tiding, a charm and a mischief.

Whippet Dog Portrait Painting – WIP 1

Whippet painting work in progress by animal and pet portrait dog artist Diane YoungI transferred the finished drawing from my finished draft onto a piece of watercolour paper making sure I have taken into account the extra space around the outside needed to stick it to the board and to allow some play in the size of the finished piece.  It had been stretched first, taped to a board and dried overnight.

 

Materials used here are hot pressed 140lb watercolour paper and acrylic paint. My lightbox is an old cutdown amazon box with an unwanted picture frame glass front for the top and a spare loose strip light taped inside!

Sketchbooks Be Gone with You!

Yesterday I started an attempt at declutttering.  What should I keep and what should go?   I headed for my bookshelf and targeted some old sketchbooks having decided to photograph pages I liked and store them digitally instead.

Diane Youngs Art and sketch books in my attic studio.

In amongst artist and nature books are malingering sketch books from over many a year.

Some of the sketches have sentimental value, and are a visual diary hinting at events and places sporadically over the year. Some of the sketches were a means to an end.  They were good practice for observing and drawing.

Other sketches were experimental when I had been involved in course work and attempting to work outside my usual method of creativity.

So I took sketchbooks which were not essentially full of great stuff and photographed those images I felt connected to and transferred them to my computer.  The nice thing about looking back at sketch books from years gone by is that a lot of the images look better to me now than when I created them. The space and time that has passed makes them feel like they are not quite so firmly attached to me allowing me to be less critical.

The other nice thing about storing the sketches digitally is that they take on a more professional look on a screen than in the sketchbook.

I agree with the declutter theory that you feel lighter and freer without hanging onto lots of stuff.  This is a start but I still have a long way to go.

Sketch of a flamboyant flamingo by artist Diane Young Sketch from life by artist Diane Young of a young boy Mixed Media  2004 Coursework by Artist Diane YoungSketchbook characters  2004 by artist Diane Young  Sketchbook showing collage and drawing by artist Diane Young

A variety of pages from 2004 Sketchbook – from life, mixed media and character development.

Pet Portrait Photo Difficulties.

My portfolio of dog portraits is slowly but surely expanding.

I have taken on a couple of portfolio exercises to get a proper feel for the difficulty rating. They are:

a) a photo which does not have all the pictorial information because the resolution is too low and

b) a photo which is in itself not a great composition but it is the only photo we can get. These are situations a pet portrait artist may find themselves in and with these problems in mind they will then have to decide whether a successful pet portrait will be the outcome.

a) This is Amber.  Most of the photo could be enhanced using the contrast tool to get more information for reference. This worked for all but the eyes.  This was the most challenging and time consuming of my two examples.  I had to make up the eyeDog photo showing Gooner for Pet Portrait Painting by Diane YOung reference material, or cross reference it elsewhere.  This meant it became time consuming and a fiddle mucking about with the “lost” information.  The eyes are the most important focal point (apart from the muzzle also in a dog) and not succeeding in making them look “right” or more to the point “convincing” would spell disaster for the whole painting.  One other point about this photo is the position of the tail gives a very long slim shape to the overall composition and so it was much better to take the important head area instead where there are alot of dynamic shapes to keep the picture interesting.

b) This is Gooner, obviously an older dog, which you can tell by the expression and posture.  The overall shape is not very dynamic and more of an overall circular outline, not the best shape to use for a picture composition.  This painting is taking  much less time on accounDawn Mcniff Gooner 2t I hav all the necessary information in front of me.  I took the liberty of using artistic licence to move the eye gaze so that the image was more engaging. Everything is in place and the painting is almost finished.

Below are the results of my endeavours:

Amber is completed

Gooner to the right is still work in progress.

Pet Dog Portrait Animal Painting by artist Diane Young         dog portrait by artist diane young

There are times when another factor comes into play and that is when the pet owner has produced the only photo they have of their dog and it is just like the Amber example above.  Perhaps this might persuade you as a pet portrait artist to take on the commission.  Of course all these things can be discussed at the outset with the pet owner giving you the commission perhaps with deposit for work up front and other caveats would help mitigate any disaster!

My conclusion is that not having all the information is extremely time consuming and the outcome is not certain. It is up to the Pet Portrait Artist to determine the risk!