Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cute Furry Animals

Wild Harry 8x10

Here is a portrait of Harry the cat. He belongs to the friend of a friend, and she asked for me to paint this picture of him outside.  She calls it "Wild Harry".  It's an interesting thing painting white fur, or white ANYthing for that matter. Because, as we previously discussed on this blog, white is never really "white".
Painting pet portraits from photos is often a crap shoot. You can get some really lousy photos or some really good ones, which can make the process a nightmare or pleasurable, respectively.
On a random note, that's a ponderosa pine trunk there by Harry. Did you know that if you put your nose right up close to the cracks in the bark, there is a strong smell of vanilla?  Next time you are visiting New Mexico, try it!
Spyke 5x7

Spyke belongs to the daughter of Harry's mom.  ??? Does that make them related?  I had much less to work with for Spyke's portrait, only a head shot, inside on a couch.Not even the front legs.  I had to completely invent a background, and invent the rest of her body, and try to guess on markings from what little I could see in the photo.  This one is also smaller, only 5x7.  And actually, I made some adjustments to this that didn't get photographed, and did improve things but this photo will have to do. I enjoy painting these little critters, and try to put a little "art" in there besides what shows up in the photo.  

Mattie in the Pasture
This is little Mattie, a rescue Collie who belongs to a good friend. She is a beautiful dog, and sweet as can be. She unfortunately has arthritis quite badly, and doesn't get around very well. But we were on a walk out in my friend's beautiful pasture, and I snapped this shot of Mattie in the sunlight.  Her "brother" Collie, Cisco, a gorgeous tri-color, was too quick and I could never get a photo of him. I'll keep trying,

And maybe one of these days, I will paint these goofballs. They really need to mellow out, don't you think?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Two Faces

 Yesterday, Steve and I did a long hike, exploring some new territory a little south of our house, near Gilman.
For film aficionados, the new "3:10 to Yuma" with Russel Crowe was filmed in Gilman - it is very remote and "western" down in the canyons.  We took an old road up into the forest, where we saw this "tree spirit".  Look closely; he even has teeth!  Of course, you would not want to put this into a painting.  This is a perfect example of "weird stuff" that you should just leave out... but he was amusing nonetheless.


This second face is a portrait study of the daughter of a friend of mine. I might touch up a few places still, perhaps smooth a few transitions.  I have found that painting very young faces is difficult - it seem almost impossible to keep them from looking older!  Every time I work on a portrait, though, I learn something, and I'm figuring out which method of "starting" works best for me. For this one, I left the hair in the initial thin wash and kept the background just the white of the canvas for a change. 

 For economy, I buy large canvas and linen pads - they are about 10 sheets to a pad, and end up costing me less than $2 each sheet.  Centurion has a nice oil primed linen that comes in pads, and I believe the pad was only about $16 for the 16x20 size. I usually buy 18x24, so I can cut the sheets down if needed.  Check the online art supply places, and you should be able to find them.  I think I have a big Fredrix pad also, that is canvas, but has a nice finish to it and paints easily.