Showing posts with label police dogs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label police dogs. Show all posts

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.