I am working on a commissioned dog portrait at the moment that I am thoroughly enjoying. The owner of “Luckie” found me on Etsy nearly a year ago and inquired about a portrait even though my listing was a bit outside of her budget. She was so kind and so clearly in love with her beautiful dog that we had an instant rapport. I truly wanted her to have a portrait of her beloved dog and we worked out a simple, classical approach that we were both happy with. It is going to have a rich, dark background in the style of renaissance portraits that will compliment her golden coloring. In the past I’ve had many clients who desire lots of background detail and even props in their portraits that frankly, I love doing, but of course all involve more work. The personality of the subject is often revealed through the use of props. For example a rugged outdoor dog would naturally have a familiar landscape in the background and conversely some lush drapery and a soft cushion would describe a dog that prefers the comfort of an indoor life. That being said there is nothing like a clean simple portrait which focuses purely on the subject and allows their personality to shine through. It is always this challenge that appeals to me when beginning a new portrait and ultimately the appreciation of a happy dog owner that makes this such a worthwhile occupation.
This is the the portrait in progress. I always begin with an underpainting in sepia and white to block out the light and shadow before I begin to add color.
This portrait which was done a few years ago is a good example of how a landscape helped to portray a true outdoor dog who loved exploring the woods near her Connecticut home.
This portrait is a good example of a very pampered Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who loved the comfort of her home in Palm Beach!