Friday, October 03, 2008

Golden Retriever Dog Portrait - Buster

Golden Retriever portrait by Lori Levin

Another Soulful Studios' pet portrait is off to a good start. It has a long way to go but I love where this is going. Buster is quite a character and is happiest when he is covered in mud or sand. He's not a cheery looking chap by any means and that was a sticking point with the photo reference choice. His owner Nancy presented me with different pictures showing him at the beach. I had difficulty choosing one as all lacked that certain pose that I find to be most successful in dog portraits. A three quarter view with the dog looking at the viewer always seems to be a good way to go. Also, I prefer the dog to be cleaned up and looking spiffy. Well, when I created a mock up of just such a pose, Nancy curled up her nose and said that wouldn't do. She proceeded to show me the photos with her beautiful Golden Retriever looking like he needed a good bath and a hug. What I didn't know was that she prefers him to look this way as she knows this represents his true being. That is something as an artist I cannot fight and I must create from a place of ultimate truth. Now as I work, I laugh and enjoy the graphite drawing very much. This is Buster as he is meant to be, not how I wish he would look. Frankly, she was right, this is a much more moving image and something that is striking a chord with me at the moment.

So often we project what we want on people and places before us. We create a reality as we see it and not as it is. As an artist I use my talent to do just that and create a world that suits me. This doesn't work in real life as we can miss the beauty of what is really in front of us because we cannot get out of our own heads. I've always known this to be true but this portrait is a good reminder. I have to admit it always tickles me when my work opens my eyes and speaks to me like a wise old sage. Maybe that's one of the benefits of being a self employed artist. Combine that with being able to work with my favorite music turned up high and wearing my comfy slippers and I'm golden!

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