This is Gracie, a lovely English Springer Spaniel whose portrait I painted last year as a Christmas commission. Her portrait was a companion piece to Bandit, who I featured a couple weeks ago.
Like Bandit, I originally planned to tighten the composition so it was centered on her face, but the owner wanted to see the full dog, so I was happy to comply. It gave me a chance to practice painting leather.
The tricky part with English Springer Spaniels is getting those flowing locks painted just right. Fortunately, the owner supplied a good photo taken in suitable lighting conditions (no flash, and a good light source from the right). This gave me all I needed to capture the light and dark of those curly tresses.
The background in the photo didn't do much for me. It was mostly shelves with typical household items. I didn't want anything to distract from Gracie and the lovely leather, so I calmed the background down with a warm yellow hue. Adding the corner brought some depth to the scene. It also gave me a chance to put the brightest background color behind Gracie's head, making it the center of interest.
Painting a good portrait is all about making good decisions. That's why I always ask for multiple photos. I want the freedom to make creative choices regarding pose, lighting, and backgrounds. Multiple photos gives me that freedom.
In a way, having several photos also gives me a sense of the pet's character. I feel more confident making portrait decisions when I know the subject better.
Of course, in the instance of Gracie, the one photo was all I needed.
Sometimes I get lucky that way.
Even so, depending on one photo makes me nervous. I'd rather have at least four or five. As a compromise, I've updated my order form to require at least two photos. At the very least, that should ease my worries somewhat.
A Special Request
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Great work! (as usual!)
Thank you, Sir!