It’s so nice to meet the ‘sitter’ of a portrait before I start to paint. I always work from a photograph and if I haven’t met the pet it’s sometimes hard to gauge their personality. When I dropped off the portrait of Tèa in May I was lucky enough to meet her brother Fidget, a Pomeranian/Spitz. Even with his mohawk haircut, he is just a bundle of fluffy loveliness.
It’s easy to see why he has the nickname ‘The Fudge’ because he is so sweet.
When I deliver a commission there’s always ‘that moment’ when the client peels back the brown paper to reveal the portrait – What if it’s not what they wanted? What if they don’t like it? What if I haven’t captured ‘the look’? My fears were allayed when I got home and my phone went ping. When I opened the notification and saw this I could’ve cried.
HE LOOKS LIKE HE’S SMILING !!
Fidget has now joined the gallery wall alongside Paris and Tèa
My next commission was to paint Paris, a 13 year old Staffie. I’ve never met Paris but I was sent lots of photos and was asked to paint one specific pose and background. The background requested was a spot-light effect, which I’ve never done before.
So I watched YouTube tutorials and learned about a product called an ‘Extender’ which allows more movement of acrylic paint before it dries. It also allows you to blend and smooth-out brush strokes. With this medium the acrylic paint performs just like oil paint and is workable for a longer period of time.
I visited my local art shop to buy the canvas and invested in a bottle of Extender, went home and practised, practised, practised. At first I thought the spot-light looked like a halo so I practised more and blended more and eventually I was happy with the effect.
I’m so glad I was asked to paint Paris because I feel it’s pushed me to learn a new paint effect which I know I’ll use again.
After Christmas I received a lovely thank you message from Paris’ Mumtogether with photos of the canvas framed and hung.
Back in the Autumn I was asked to paint a portrait of Tia, a beautiful German Shepherd. I was given a selection of photos to chose from with a variety of backgrounds. I’m lucky to have met Tia before and know she loves the outdoors.
After nearing completion of the portrait I started concentrating on the scene behind.
Initially I painted a floral background but decided it looked too much like wallpaper. I didn’t feel I could give enough depth to it. So I painted over the flowers and gave it a blurry background which I was much happier with and thought it looked less distracting.
Tia’s portrait was delivered in plenty of time and I was so glad to hear that her Mum and Dadloved it and hung it immediately.
I could now get on with my Christmas shopping ….. or so I thought! Skip on over to my next post and meet Paris
Earlier this year I visited my childhood friend in Spain and had a great time catching up with lots of old friends. It had been many years since we had seen each other, so many that I had never met my friend’s grown up daughter. When I returned back home I thought it would be nice if I made something to show my love and appreciation for their warm welcome. This is my gift.
Early in the Spring I was commissioned to paint a canvas of Arny, a very lively Jack Russell. The fun started when I visited the terror terrier to take his photograph … … … he just wouldn’t sit still.
After a chase around the garden we went inside and after a bit of sofa hopping, Arny relaxed on the seat next to me with a dog chew and I managed to snap a photo of him, at last!
I made a start on the painting almost straight away, but then the Summer months arrived and I put it to one side for a bit.
I like to take photos as I go along. Even though the painting can be right in front of me, it helps to see it from a different perspective.
I’m happy to say that I finished Arny’s portrait today, it’s now signed and photographed and is ready for delivery tomorrow. I’m nervously hoping Arny’s owners love the painting and hope I managed to capture his personality for them.