Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Luna, Belgian Malinois Portrait Painted in Oil


Luna, Belgian Malinois Portrait 
11 x 14 Oil on Canvas
Carole Rodrigue ©2017
SOLD


Everyone, this is Luna, a gorgeous Malinois with such beautiful haunting eyes that I wanted to paint her so that the eyes were the focus.  For this reason I used a dark background.  All of the comments I've received about this painting have been about the eyes, so mission accomplished!

Luna is the second Belgian Malinois painting I've recently completed and I am now working on another Malinois commission, this time with THREE dogs!  I'm really humbled and honoured that people are liking my Malinois paintings and I'm fortunate to be getting these requests by Malinois owners.  It is such a joy to paint these dogs and I look forward to painting many, many more!

Stay tuned for another Belgian Malinois portrait coming soon!


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Belgian Malinois Portrait


Shelby, Belgian Malinois
16 x 20 Oil
© 2017 Carole Rodrigue
SOLD


Everyone, meet Shelby, a beautiful Belgian Malinois I was fortunate enough to have been commissioned to paint.

When I was asked to paint her, I was given several reference photos.  They were all great references, good lighting, most outdoors with natural light, and high resolution so I could see the details.  This particular reference sang to the artist in me, however.  For an artist, the light is always the most important aspect of a painting, or it should be, even more than detail.  You can have a very detailed, realistic, and . . .  boring painting. If the light doesn't grab you, no matter how technically perfect and detailed a painting may be, you'll soon be bored with it if there's no mood or magical light.  This painting reference had everything, therefore this was the one I suggested to the client and am I ever happy she went along with my suggestion!

I've had so many people tell me they thought this was my best painting yet.  What I know for sure is that they were gripped by the lighting. They might not realize it, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the light is what grabbed their attention.  Details are secondary.  I could've omitted all of the fine hair details and painted a loose painting and still had the same reactions.

It's the lighting folks, the lighting.  Details are important in a reference in order to get the true personality of the pet, and especially the eyes, perfect, but the lighting is what will make people's heart sing.

I'm posting a photo below of a few progress shots.  As always, I started with a toned canvas.  I toned with with turpentine and burnt umber, then wiped clean after a few minutes.  This needed to be completely dry before proceeding with my sketch transfer.

Once the sketch was transferred, I started painting outlines with burnt umber again, and then gradually building up my layers, letting each dry in between.  The finer details are always saved until the very end, except for the eyes.  Like most artists, I like to paint the eyes in at the beginning, this way I know if I've already go the likeness and then can proceed safely with the rest of the painting.    It's safe to say over 40 hours were put into this piece, although not all at the same time.  It took about one month to complete between drying times.  I then varnish with Gamvar.  They have a new matt varnish that will be used on this, eliminating shine.  This is my favorite varnish since it can be applied once the painting is dry to the touch and the deepest parts don't sink in when you push with your nail. Since I paint in thin layers, this is a quick process once dry.

I hope you enjoyed this one and now I'm getting ready to paint a wildlife scene as well as a Husky commission.  I've also got a couple more Malinois commissions lined up as well once the Husky is completed.  Until next time . . .



#BelgianMalinois #petportraits #petportraitsfromphotos #BelgianMalinoispaintings #policedogs 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

German Shepherd Oil Painting


Sierra, Portrait of a German Shepherd 
16 x 20 oil on canvas
©Carole Rodrigue 2017
SOLD


Hey everyone, meet Sierra the German Shepherd. She was a beauty and her owner really misses her, so her portrait was commissioned.  I cannot express how much I enjoyed painting this.  Though she is gone, I hope this painting will bring some joy and fond memories.

Why did I enjoy painting this so much? The lighting.

For me, the best paintings aren't always about detail, but rather, lighting and mood. The best pet portraits are those with references with natural outdoor lighting.  I cannot stress enough how indoor photos with the flash having been used are not good references.  You can have a painting where all the details are there, every hair painted, but then it's boring because there's nothing special about the light.

When painting a pet portrait, it's crucial to get things right.  Indoor photos with the flash are poor references.  You can't see the eyes and you have to guess.  Details are missing, disguised by the flash, other areas overly enhanced.  When considering a pet portrait, always try to get soft outdoor lighting whenever possible.  I understand that's not always possible, especially when a pet is gone.

Sometimes something good can come out of a bad shot, as in this painting.




The reference for this painting was a tiny paper photo and the dog was only in about 1/3 of the photo.  Picture that picture.  That was a tiny dog to look at. (The reference above is cropped to protect the child's privacy.  The dog only filled a portion of the whole photo.) So, I scanned it at the highest resolution before agreeing to paint it.  Because I was able to see the eye and good shapes, I agreed to paint it and created one of the portraits I'm most proud of.  Seeing the eyes is so important.  I have painted several with the flash being used and guessing what the eyes looked like, but I think I was lucky to be successful.  It makes things that much harder.

Natural light folks, natural light.

Now I'm starting another German Shepherd painting and I can't wait to show you!  It'll have dramatic lighting this time and I'll talk about that when I get to post it.

Thanks for visiting!  If you want your pet portrait commissioned, be sure to visit my website at http://www.carolerodrigue.com   for info.  Use the Contact form if you have questions.



Sunday, January 8, 2017


Ebony
8 x 10 soft pastel on matt suede board
Carole Rodrigue © 2017
SOLD



Ebony was a sweet girl that I am so fortunate to have been chosen to paint.  She is dearly missed by her family and when they saw it, the portrait brought tears.  She was a rescue dog and it's believed she was a cross between a Belgian Shepherd and a Husky.  I was drawn by her gorgeous eyes and wanted to create the painting in a way that nothing would detract from the eyes.  There's an innocent and youthful vitality in those eyes that speak volumes.

Painting pet portraits can be a bitter-sweet thing to do.  Many times, the reason you are commissioned to paint a portrait is because someone's beloved pet is deceased.  The reason you are hired is to create a treasured memory, capture a moment, a look.  These portraits often bring tears at first, but then the fond memories come.  I can't tell you how humbling it is to be able to participate in such an important part of people's lives.

Another commission I had completed last fall also reminds me of how privileged I am to take part in people's lives in such a special way.  I was just sent a video from a client recently.  The video shows a little girl reading a special birthday message to an elderly woman who is in a home.  After she's done reading the note, the little girl presents the woman with a gift bag. The woman pulls out the painting from the gift bag, brings her hand up to her mouth, gasps, and sheds a tear as she recognizes her beloved pet who is deceased.  There is family from across the country and others from overseas.  They tell her this is the professional oil painting she had always wanted of her cherished friend.

When I saw this, I also cried.  No words can describe the intimacy, the specialness of the moment, and how humbled and honoured I feel that something I created is helping this elderly woman and many others cherish their memories.  It is so humbling to know that you participated in these people's lives in such a special way.  Something you created as an artist has touched and moved someone somewhere.  That my friends, is the greatest reward one can get from being an artist.  

Monday, January 2, 2017

Golden Retriever Portrait in Oil


Ginger
11 x 14 oil on canvas
Carole Rodrigue ©2016
SOLD


This private commission was painted as a a very special memorial gift for Christmas.  When I saw the reference, I gasped at how beautiful this dog was and knew that this would be a very special painting.

While I'm very saddened for the client and her family that their beloved dog is now gone, I'm so honoured that I was selected to paint this beauty.  The reference was perfect: it was high resolution, clear with very visible eyes and features, and beautiful soft outdoor lighting.  The pose was so sweet, expressing a loving gentleness. It's the sort of reference that artists dream about because you just know this is going to be a very special piece.

I'm told it brought tears to the owner, but I hope this painting will now bring fond memories and smiles.


#petportraits #petportraitsfromphotos #petportaitsinoil #goldenretrieverpaintings #goldenretrieverart #petportraitsCanada

Thursday, December 22, 2016

American Bulldog Oil Painting



American Bulldog Portrait
8 x 10 Oil
© 2016 Carole Rodrigue
SOLD


 This American Bulldog was a loyal, loving, and gentle family pet that passed a few years ago.   The portrait was commissioned as a special gift.  I'm told she was such a loved dog and is missed very much, so I hope this painting brings joy for many years to come.  I cannot express how much I enjoyed painting this one.  There were so many interesting variations in colour and capturing the gentleness in the eye  was important for me.  I also deliberately painted very soft edges around her head to create the gentle air I'm told this girl had.

I've more portraits to show after the holidays, but I couldn't wait to show this one, and it's safe to do so.  I hope you enjoyed this painting, and have a very Merry Christmas!



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pudlepointer Pet Portrait


Blitz the Pudlepointer
8 x 8 soft pastel on sanded paper
Carole Rodrigue ©2016


Blitz the Pudlepointer (I love that name!) was the winner in my Facebook contest for a free pet portrait.  (By the way, please go give my page a LIKE.  I'd really love you, and thank you.)

I cannot tell you how much fun it was to paint this gorgeous fella.  I love the soft window light as he gazes out at who knows what.  It is definitely the type of painting I love to work on!

This was also the first time I worked with sanded paper.  I love how it takes a lot of pastel layers without being fussy.  Since I love to work in a lot of layers with my oil paints, it's definitely suitable for my style of work. I'll definitely be working with this again.

I hope you enjoy Blitz the Pudlepointer!  If you want to inquire about your own pet portrait commission, visit my website by clicking HERE.




#petportraits #dogpaintings #softpasteldogpaintings #animalart #petportraitsfromphotos #custompetportraits