Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Workshop Wednesday - Pet Portrait Process

Today marks another installment of a new weekly blog series titled Workshop Wednesday. Each Wednesday will feature either a tutorial by yours truly or another talented artist or artisan, or a snapshot of an artist's creative process. This week's Workshop Wednesday features my pet portrait process. In anticipation of sharing what is now one of my favorite portraits, I took photographs of a pet portrait in progress from beginning to end so that I could share with you what I do from the moment a client contacts me to the delivery of the painting.

Step One: I am given a photograph, either digital or print, to work from. It is important to keep in mind that the better the photo, the better the portrait. (For tips on taking great pet photos, click here.) The client and I discuss how he or she wants the portrait to look, and I get started. Here's the original photo I had to work from for this portrait.

Step Two: Next I sketch out the portrait on gallery-wrapped canvas with staple-free edges. I usually begin painting the background and lay down a wash of colors for the subjects.
Step Three: I typically leave the faces of my subjects for last, so the next thing I did was paint in the darks and midtones on the bodies, and some of the darks on the faces.
Step Four: Next I worked on the face of the Great Dane on the right, and then continued to add the highlights to the face and the body. In this photo the subject on the right is complete, except for some minor tweaking I always do at the very end. What a good-lookin' dog! ;)
Step Five: Next I worked on the Great Dane on the left. Here he is with all the midtones and darks, and maybe a smidge of highlights on the face. He looks like a zombie dog without all the highlights.
Step Six: Finally, I finish with the highlights on the Great Dane on the left, on both his face and his body. At this point I usually stand back away from the canvas and look at the entire portrait, and then come back and tweak a highlight here and add a shadow there. Then, this is the finished product!
After that, the next step is hopefully meeting a happy client, and giving said ecstatic client his or her portrait. ;) I hope you enjoyed the step-by-step process!

On another note, I am in the process of setting up my second Etsy shop. My fine art and pet portraits are being neglected and buried underneath my wearable art. So, over the next few days I am moving all my fine art from my current shop to my new shop. The first shop will have all my wearable art in it, and the second will have all my pet portraits, original oil paintings, and reproductions. I hope you come back to see it when it's done.


jacjewelry said...

Thanks for sharing - now I've got so much insight into how you create your portraits! How long does it usually take you to do one of these?!

A second shop is a great idea - good luck with it, and can't wait to see it!

Diane said...

Amazing....Thank you so much. I will make sure I get back here every Wednesday!

SToNZ said...

How funny is that photo to begin with?!
I could never get my dog to sit and pose that way!

Lanyardlady said...

An intricate process with beautiful results. Enjoyed the lesson and would love to have you do a portrait of my Sophie.

Parallax said...

Thanks for sharing -- I don't have your talent with a paintbrush, but it's always so interesting to see how others create their art

Katy said...

WOW! That is beautiful! :)

Lori said...

That's is amazing, love your work and watching the process is a favorite of mine, thanks for sharing!
Have many years have you been painting?

leona said...

Thanks for sharing your pet portraits! I also do pet portraits. They are definitely a labor of love! I basically do mine similar to yours. I sketch it, put a base color in, then keep adding till it's done.

You do beautiful work!