May 27, 2013

Ben and Leroy

 6 x 6" original oil
commission: 3 of 4

a detail of that shaggy goodness

6 x 6" original oil
commission: 4 of 4

Ben is the shaggy dog, and Leroy is the black dog. These two paintings finish up the commission of four I've been working on. Penelope and Charley were the first two. These four paintings are headed to Texas where the pets all live and play and live a good life.

Ben's painting was intimidating - I won't lie. When I saw that shaggy fur I didn't know where to start. Since I paint alla prima, or all at once wet on wet, I knew I'd have to figure out how to make him look shaggy without just making a mess of wet paint. It turns out if you paint the undercolor first, then paint the shag in thin brushstrokes over the top while it's all still wet, it makes a dog. 

Leroy's painting was even harder since the reference I used from the client was an image of him standing in grass under a shade tree. He's a black dog, so pretty much there were no details available. I had to invent paws and push the contrast on the reference photo so that some of his highlights would show up at all. The other hard thing was getting the reference photo to work in a square composition. I had to cut off his back end to get it to feel balanced. I could have shrunk him down completely so that all of  him would fit in a square, but too much negative space would have dominated and his painting wouldn't have fit with the other three that have minimal negative space in comparison. I pushed the blues and violets on his fur highlights to add something different so it wouldn't be just all black. Thankfully he has a red collar which was a nice peekaboo of color.

A big thank you to Gallery MAR in Park City for arranging these commissions! I love painting pet portraits, so if you'd like one, contact any of my galleries or me and we'll get it going!

No comments: