For this pet portrait commission of Sydney, a charming Black Lab, I used two photos as reference.
In one he was dressed for St. Patrick's day, looking into the camera wearing a green feathery luau thingy around his neck and a goofy headdress with two green Irish top-hats on springs (I'm not judging, we've all been there). As charming as it was, the customer requested that the St. Paddy's gear not be included in the portrait.
The other photo was from the side and he was looking off to the right.
In my view, the first photo was the best, even though the neck gear obstructed a lot of his neck. Still, the lighting was right. Also, his expression was interesting, and I'm always interested in the eyes. Because if the eyes are good, the rest of the portrait will usually fall into place quite easily.
I employed a loose style with this portrait. Since the size was 8x10, I didn't want to get hung up in too many tiny details. And I wanted a bold look, so I added a bright color background to complement the dominant blue and purple tones in the fur. Doing so infused the pet portrait with an energy often missing in more traditional portraits.
This pet portrait commission of Sydney has a nice, direct quality that I like.
I'm Having Fun and Growing as an Artist
I enjoy experimenting with styles and tools as I paint. Usually I don't stray too far from realism, but just enough to give the painting a distinctive style all its own.
It's fun to see my style changing and growing with each commission.
If you are considering a pet portrait commission for Christmas, please consider ordering as early as possible. Delivery usually takes 3 weeks from the time you order, but with the Christmas rush, sometimes I get backed up. So the earlier you order, the better.