Pastel Portrait

Bailey

Bailey, 11″ x 14″, Pastel

I’ve been painting with acrylics for years doing mostly landscapes, plein air when possible.  But I have many other art materials, in addition to acrylic paint, that I have accumulated and tried through the years.  Among them are several boxes of pastels.  One box dates from college.  Others are from a portrait class with live human models that I was enrolled in many years ago.  I think some others were given to me by artist who had no longer wanted them.

Some years ago my daughter wanted me to do a painting of her two dogs, since the older one might not live much longer.  I hadn’t used pastels in years but it seemed like the right media for these portraits.  Then two years ago another daughter’s coworker was looking for someone to do a portrait of her husband’s favorite dog as a gift to him.  Although I almost never have animals in my paintings and don’t own any, she suggested me.  Again, I used pastels, which I think are a great way to portray fur.

Recently, another coworker who had seen the dog portrait wanted me to do a portrait of her dog.  She gave me a photo of a beautiful animal with long, golden fur.  That’s Bailey, shown above.  I guess the idea here is not to be afraid to try something you don’t usually do.  It could point you in a whole new direction.

 

 

 

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Painting from a Photo

Photo of Prairie Tree

Prairie Tree, Acrylic 18″ x 14″

It’s always good to be offered a commission, but it usually involves painting from a photo someone else has taken.  Recently I was asked to do a panting from the above photo, which the woman was very enthusiastic about.  A friend had let her family stay at their country place while work was being done on their house.  What she wanted me to do was to paint from the photo they had taken while there so she could give the painting to their friend.

I said I would do it but I didn’t tell her what I thought of the photo.  The tree in the photo was directly in the center, and artists are taught never to put the center of interest in the middle of the painting.  Secondly, the size of the foreground was too near the same size as the sky, another no no.  Also, the foreground in the photo was so dark that it was difficult to see the vegetation.

The painting above shows how I handled these problems.  I moved the tree a bit to one size and shortened the foreground and made it lighter.  I thought this preserved the  essence of the scene while making it more pleasing to look at.  She was a little concerned that the painting did not look exactly like the photo, but did buy it.