Oil. Up to date now with the latest commission. I had so many photo’s to choose from on this particular project. (Ruby Do) on the left and (Amber) on right. Amber was the mother to Ruby Do who was 10 and passed on due to cancer. I had the pleasure of meeting Amber the mother. Unfortunately Amber also passed away four weeks later. It breaks my heart when I learn of each pet passing.
This is the first time I decided to show (on the scene and live). Was asked if I could do something like that as clients and other’s wanted to watch. A little shy and certainly no expert at it. Very amateur I’m afraid.
Basically as I started I kept my clients up to date with the progress and let them know if there was anything they wanted changed or added to let me know.
Finishing all my paintings I take time to photograph them and study the photograph for balance, color, continuity, and all the aspects that go into the painting and the subjects. Then I look at the painting through a mirror. It’s a check of balance to see if something is out of place or if there is too much here or there and a check for highlighting, shadowing of less or more. If I’ve made any additions/corrections I again take a photograph. After this process I realized the painting had too much foliage in the foreground, (front). I decided to take out the HENS AND CHICKS plants which were almost centered in the foreground. Sometimes less is better and in this case I added more grass in front to the end of the canvas. It worked. I then set it aside and went on about daily business. After a week or two, I return to the painting and it really helped put things into perspective. It’s like looking from outside the box you might say. Things really jump out if they aren’t right and of course you do have other people viewing it as well. That really helps. By this time I was confident in saying it was done. It was finished, I let it go and sometimes THAT, is hard to do.
Oil. During my years as a graphic designer and commercial artist my work demanded fine detail. It has been a long time since I had any work such as this type. The commission was a challenge indeed. The difference between my past work for this style was the medium I used. For commercial artwork that had to be done (quick) to make media deadlines was in most cases done in acrylics. Acrylics being a water base paint dried quickly. My client wanted oil. Patience was to play a big part in this commission. This was a 24” x 36” painting. My client lived in Alaska and he was retiring from his business do to poor health. He was passing the business on to his son and wanted a painting for his office. He wanted a portrait of himself which the photo sent to me of him didn’t have him smiling and his daughter asked to put a smile on his face which I did.
In order to give proper highlighting I had to let my oil dry after each layer of paint applied. Each time brought out more brilliance. It was a very slow process. I had to use templates which had been quite some time since I used them and it wasn’t a pentagraph pen I was using but a double ought brush.
My client sent many photos of his trucks but I had to do some research for the specific town landscape and his truck yard photos was in late spring with snow still on the ground. The mountains surrounded his location which was a perfect setting.
This was a commission that brought back the memories of a time when everything was done mostly by hand and certainly not like today. However it was an enjoyable challenge.
Oil. The Boyz as they were called, the two front ones and their matriarch Younger filled my heart with attachment.
My client asked for fall leaves to surround them and with just the leaves it wouldn’t work. At the beginning I positioned (Younger) subject for balance. I am not one to sketch all details in at first. The other two dogs, (Willie, the black) and (WayVer the yellow Lab) followed later. Younger and the background began first. I had to have a “theme” type background as Younger had passed on. I painted a theme of infinity with depth and added a soft overlay of mist with my airbrush. I created a background layer after layer of leaves and with blue.
When you look at a photo or the outdoors, stop and see if you can see the reflection of blue. I had a student one time who I asked, “What do you see in the colors of the landscapes?” “Greens, browns, some yellows and some reds.” he said. “Don’t you see blue?” I asked. “No.” Our sun gives us the light to see all the colors of the rainbow on our landscape but, our sky reflects its color onto the ecosystem. There is blue on our earth. Every blade of grass, trees, fields, mountains water, our buildings from our sky. Our earth cannot give us all the beautiful colors. Our sun and sky reflects its scattered wavelengths throughout the atmosphere creating a beautiful spectrum of colors of blue. It’s a melody of beauty isn’t it. How beautiful and wondrous our world is.
My painting began with one of three dogs. Younger A Golden Retriever who passed away in 2011. She was a gentle, loving and tolerant soul. She recorded 260 visits as a Therapy Dog, (TD). Her impact was a wonder to watch. She taught Willy and WayVer and her spirit lives on through them.
It was a long journey with this commission and hard to let go.
Oil/Acrylic. If all challenges were made easy then my journey wouldn’t be a labor of love and I’d quit. Out of all my commissions this has had to be the most extensive so far. My client wanted a birthday gift of a painting for her husband. She explained to me that she wanted an eagle in flight with a feather falling toward earth. Her husband was White Mountain Apache and therefore the significance of the eagle and feather. I told her let’s do a feather resting on a branch rather than floating in air. She agreed. So began my journey with allot of thought to what this painting was going to mean to this gentleman. I was asked to do this one in oil. One thing I wanted to make sure it had brilliance and movement with a total focus on this mans tribal ancestry.
Before I started the painting I started to research the White Mountain Apache and found the reservation to be in Arizona. I looked at many sites which showed the terrain. Finally I found some images of the landscape I needed to “fit” with the subject, of eagle and feather. I wanted the background as dramatic as I could make it with the White Mountain Apache foothills in the background and various peeks and valleys with the eagle in flight overlooking his territory while one of his feathers fell to rest on a pine tree branch. My image of the layout in my mind was pretty close. I re-sketched it only twice. I re-positioned the eagle only once as well as the feather.
The background was a thought of brilliance and therefore I took out my compressor and airbrushed my background with the medium in acrylic paint. Formed my clouds as I went. When I start my clouds I can only feel my way through for movement and make sure the lighting was to reflect on the subjects.
My Eagle had been sketched in and partially painted well before I started the background. When airbrushing, your subjects need to be well planned out before you start an adventure such as this. I did get ahead of myself and suffered an amount of time and patients wore very thin. I had to mask my eagle so that it wouldn’t be lost while I airbrushed the background and painted the clouds. Masking entails a product which is a fast drying rubber substance to cover your image. Then after you’ve finished the area around the image you rub off the rubber substance. I went over and over and over till it was seemingly endless. By the time I completed the background I had gone over my eagle more than four times and stopped counting. The eagle was in oil. The drying time between acrylic and oil are at two opposite ends. Acrylic is water base and of course oil is what oil is. But, I was able to cut it’s drying time down with a dryer solution.
When you have challenges as this one, one character trait that must stay steadfast is the self discipline. If your discipline is in check, your outcome is a rewarding journey.
The client’s husband didn’t get his gift for his birthday. As soon as she opened the box she gave him an early gift. He cried.
Oil. For a Christmas gift I was asked if I could paint on a plate. Well, not knowing if I could or not I told my client I would give it a try. Never had the experience of painting on a surface such as a plate. It was a little different than a saw. I did have to prep the plate and did experiment to get the feel of the surface. The clients mother owned many dogs in the past and every one of them she commissioned someone at the time to paint each on a plate. Little Marley was a Bichon Frise and loved her bed with all her toys around her. It was a commission that gave me a challenge but an enjoyable one.
Oil. From small to large and so many shapes and colors. Animals all have one thing in common and before I start to paint, a study of the character of that animal is so very important. That way I can feel that one important element of that animal. It’s their soul. I get to know them and become attached. But, when I’m asked to do a portrait of the owner with the animal, that becomes a real challenge with excitement. This portrait image of both pet and owner was so enjoyable to paint. There is such a connection between the owner and her pet.
“Glendoveer Squirrel” – Oil. This little guy just keeps getting more popular. I photographed him one day as I was taking my daily walk at a golf course which had a two mile walking path at the edge of it. Squirrels abound as well as rabbits and ducks took to the ponds. A perfect setting for camera in hand and I caught this little one sitting on the fence as I approached anticipating a peanut to be thrown his way. I snapped a photo shot of him on the fence and on the ground. After showing him as an enhanced image on canvas, I was commissioned to paint him and the original is now in California. For more information on Photo Giclee Enhancement go to my website title of “Photo Giclee Enhancement Process”
Little “Sophie” – Oil. A Corgi who was such a sweet and adorable little girl. She blue ribboned at the Corgi shows and the owner was sooo proud of her. Sadly the day came when Marge told me she had to put Sophie down. It is one part of my job I hate to hear. Most of my work with animal portraits is painting a subject that is at the end of their life or close to it. I can understand how my client feels as I’ve had pets as long as I’ve lived. I can associate of their passing.
Oil. A hunter who had a saw asked me to paint one of his trophies on the saw. I’ve done them before and it’s always handled with care. I use gloves to move the saw when I have to. The surface of the saw always has to be prepped before paint is applied. When the paint is dry and ready for display, position it and leave it where it can’t be handled as the surface may be dry but one scratch can destroy it. I had prints made for this one and titled it “Muley Season”.
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