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 eye 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 account 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.
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!
Don’t for one minute let the title of this post lead you to believe that I might give any advice currently on that subject matter!
A new pet portrait emerges from my studio but a distinct lack of ability to prioritise is ensuing along other commitments getting in the way, and a little procrastination to boot. No advice can come of such disorder. If anyone has any tips please let me know and help rescue the situation!
Meanwhile here is the most recent completed dog portrait painting.
Lila. A Bernese Mountain Dog.
When you see artists exhibiting their wares at Christmas Fayres or in the high street hoping to catch customers in the festive season spare a thought not just for the hard work and creativity that goes into their craft. Some time will have been spent agonising over pricing before an attempt at selling either original work or prints. Framing is a conundrum, customers like to buy items ready to hang but how do you choose a frame that works with the image and works for the customers taste.
With prints and cards there is plenty to frustrate the eager artist. Enduring a fickle printer is a test of patience when it starts spitting out blank paper or prints which are off centre, the wrong size or the wrong colours and then horrors of horrors sometimes it will not work at all.
Mounting the image is an issue of its own, lining up the print and taping the print, mount and backing board together in a professional looking way before putting into a celophane bag. By the end of it all the place is littered with off cuts, cut fingers, bits of tape everywhere, torn up prints and hopefully the printer has not been despatched out of the window.
You may have guessed that I have just completed a printing session ready for a Christmas Fayre at Horseworld Rescue Centre, Bristol, UK next weekend. Leaflets, notices and business cards are ready printed too. Just need to pack a blanket, hot water bottle and a flask.
Oh and in case you were wondering the printer is still where it should be, in the studio… :)
You know that if a cat appears to be meditating by staring into the corner of a room that something must be in that corner. Tucked behind a bookshelf back to the wall was Mousie, looking quite wholesome and undamaged. I think Simba Fangcat brought it in for a game or perhaps we have mice in the walls (as opposed to Wolves in the Walls -a favourite children’s picture book of mine, especially the illustrations).
It took me an hour to sort out the situation with everyone surviving intact. I mean catching the mouse took a relatively short period of time. Guide Mousie towards container and pop container over. The rest of the time was spent finding a suitable container, moving items off the top of the bookshelf, clearing the area, putting the cat out and blocking the catflap with a bin, finding something to encourage the mouse out of the corner and a light to track progress behind the bookshelf, and finding a glove in case I needed to grab it on the way. I also had to find a piece of card that would fit over the container which was two floors up in the attic studio. At one point in trying to encourage Mousie out he was straddling wall and bookshelf in the gap like a furry mountain climber in a ravine.
After dispatching Mousie to the far end of the garden I had to get the cat who had now come outside back in again or else I might to repeat the procedure over again. I still had all the stuff to put back and away….whilst Simba got back into his basket to continue his nap as if nothing has happened.
So Digger fancies himself as being a bit like his ancestors, although I am not sure what a Fox Terrier might sound like whilst trying to howl like a wolf….
Whilst designing and painting this image I wondered why there is a plethora of images featuring wolves and a full moon……but it seems is just a human association. “Wolf howls serve as GPS systems, sing-alongs and fire alarms — all rolled into one. In fact, the purpose of wolf howls isn’t terribly different from the reasons humans raise their voices to the wind.” [see more about wolves and howling…]