Ruby in Graphite
Ruby the vizsla is 3 years old and a nice age of maturity for a portrait. There is some thing very dignified about the graphite portraits. My personal favorite is the 3/4 angle as seen in this portrait. The beauty of art is that if the photo is not quite perfect with imperfection shown on the dog, I can eliminate or change things. In the photo, Ruby had allergies and a runny eye. Also, the flash reflected in her eye so I needed to make a change to that as well. I also “opened” her eye up slightly. Here is the finished result.
Nansen in Oil
Some years ago I did two Sammies (Samoyeds) for a couple in Petaluma. Recently I was inspired to do an oil portrait of Nansen, one of the two dogs. The couple was unaware that I was doing this portrait, but I was so happy with the finished piece with it’s bright, cheerful colors, I felt I needed to share the fun painting with them. They decided they to add this painting to their collection! It is on an 11×14 inch stretched canvas frame. I’m happy the portrait is in the best home it could be in!
First I need to acknowledge this is the first time I forgot to take a photo of an art piece before it was framed. So, you are seeing it under glass, but I hope you can see through that (pun intended) to the art.
Garcia by the Hot Tub
Garcia is a 120 lb. German Shepherd Dog that has a privileged life living with his owners on a beautiful property that looks over the city of Petaluma. His owner, Gary, wanted a special gift for his wife’s birthday and commissioned this portrait of their dog Garcia sitting by the pool. Garcia is perched on the rocks next to the hot tub as his owners are relaxing in it. Garcia seems quite comfortable and familiar with his hind legs perched higher than is long front legs. This custom pastel dog portrait was painted on Art Spectrum pastel paper. The image is 11″x14″ and framed in a 16″x 20″ distressed wood frame with a dark grayish blue matte.
Coco the Chihuahua
Last October when I saw Cesar at his dog psychology center in Santa Clarita we had a conversation about art as gifts for loved ones. Cesar, like most of us, has many loved ones who also have special dogs in their lives. When we talked about his son Calvin and the chihuahua, Coco. Cesar thought to give a portrait as a gift for Calvin was a good idea. Coco is actually Calvin’s dog and very important to him. At this time Cesar was in the process of having their new house built and this art was going to be a gift for Calvin for his bedroom. Calvin is a teenager and I thought bright, bold colors would be fun to have as background. I took the reference photo myself. Coco had been laying on a blanket in the office. I took some liberty with the actual colors to give it a more modern feel -the yellow floor, purple hallway, green wall and the blanket was actually blue. Some mentioned that the piece has a “pop art” feel. This was done in oil on a 16×20 framed canvas. The frame is 2″deep and ready to hang. I like the modern feel of no frame. A very nice gift to Calvin from his padre. Another very nice thing is that a portion of this commissioned sale is going to an animal rescue group. Recently I have been taking a portion of every commissioned piece and after six months of saving for one particular group I donate the proceeds. Then I start saving again for the next organization Thank you for your help Cesar!
Cesar and I with our dogs
Kathy first contacted me in early fall of 2012 regarding a portrait for her husband for Christmas. She had a specific request to have three dogs drawn on one sheet. Two of the dogs had passed but one was still with the family. I began by having her send photos of the dogs and she also wrote a very nice description of each to give me an idea of the dogs personality. Although they were all black giant schnauzers they all had their own unique personalities and physical features – Luke (Lucifer) was their quiet boy – Ivan was the serious one – and Negus was was the clown. It is important to try and capture both the physical features as well as the personality traits. My biggest challenge was to get the kind of detail from the photos that I wanted with the limited photos. Some of the photos were quite tricky because they were grainy and some were taken far away and in shadow. Others had good detail but there were features that could not be seen – an ear for example on Negus, or they had expressions on the dogs faces that were not good representations of the dog’s personality. Black dogs with curly hair are challenging because in certain photos it is difficult to see where part of a body ends and another begins (the jaw line to the neck). But, with a lot of emails and phone call back and forth to Southern California, which is where my client lives, we managed to get the portrait just right! The piece is an 18″x 24″ sheet of Strathmore 400 series drawing paper.