Friday, January 30, 2009
Pets on Parade
Over the holiday season of 2008, Miss Zoe and I were very busy with pet portrait commissions. The only commission that Zoe actually was excited about was the one we wrote about a couple of weeks ago of Derby and Petunia.
You can probably figure out why she wasn't that thrilled with some of the others, right?
[Hint: The portrait subjects were not bouncy with long ears. Well, actually, they may have been bouncy, and their ears weren't necessary short, but they were not rabbit-bouncy with rabbit-ears.]
Now you probably get the idea. Besides Derby and Petunia, all my commissions in November and December were dogs. Having a dog painting sitting on the easel staring at her for a couple of days can make Miss Zoe feel a little unsettled.
I love to paint dogs. They have so much expression and are so full of emotion, especially in their eyes. That's the hardest part for me: painting their eyes. I often go through 3 or 4 sets of eyes, trying to get them right. I sketch them, then, I paint them on the canvas, then, I inevitably paint over them. Then, I think they're good and then Blisschick comes along and says, "Not quite yet." Then, I paint over them again. Whew!
Eventually I get them how I want them, and from there the rest is pretty straightforward shape and color.
But those eyes.
I always want the person who ordered the commission to feel like they see the essence of their dog (or their cat or their rabbit, or their bird, or whatever) when they look at their portrait.