Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pet Portraits in Oil

Work in Progress
Dog Portrait
Oil on Canvas

Postcard for Gallery 50

Gallery 50's "Nature and the Landscape" show was a success. I won an award for best oil or acrylic and my good friend Alex Alampi won "Best of Show". As you can see we shared the postcard, so to share the night's awards was a plus. There were some very fine pieces at this show and it was an honor to receive any recognition.

Above is my current work in progress. Those of you who have visited my studio have seen this one develop and it still has a long way to go. This is a very poor photograph so the color is off and the image is cut but it gives you an idea of what I'm doing. I had certain things in mind for this piece and it hasn't gone according to plan. There is no area currently on the painting that is finished and the paint is thin and the strokes are tight. My desire is to loosen up on this as it has gone a bit to the slick side. Generally it is difficult to get loose once you tighten up but I still think I can do it. My plan is to not look at photo reference for a few sessions and go with my gut in terms of stroke and color. To try that now is a bold move but for the sake of the art it must be done.

In terms of doing my job as a pet portrait artist I am on target with this painting. However, when one looks at this piece purely from a fine arts standpoint the piece needs help. Many pet portrait artists are only concerned about how their work stands up to likeness and realism. This is never an issue for me and I feel blessed for that reason. What I challenge myself with all the time is to create commission work that stands alone as a piece of fine art. This portrait of dogs is not there yet but I'm no where near done.

Finishing this piece is paramount to my health. I believe this may be one of the last oils I do. Since I've been working on this piece I've been in a great deal of pain and have been quite ill. My body no longer tolerates the toxins from oils. I've been struggling with this issue for years and believe the problem is more than I can handle now. I'm trying not to be sad or scared about the loss of my precious oils but rather excited about focusing on the possibilities with acrylics and other mediums.

My smaller works are always acrylics for this reason but I've never done pet portraits or larger pieces using them. Recently texture and a more painterly look interest me. I look to the daily painter groups for inspiration. Ideas swirl in my head about changes and new approaches. My next post will share some of those ideas with you so do come back soon to Soulful Studios.

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