If you are a regular reader of the blog then you probably have read my recent thoughts on giving, and the painting that I’ve been working on for a special person. I mailed the painting last week, and now that I know it has been received I feel like I can share the final result with you. I wanted the recipient to be the first to see it.
Here it is!
I had to edit the photo a bit, but it’s still not quite what it should be. The lighting in this photo is a bit off, but you can get the general idea. I tried to add depth to the painting by keeping the foreground colors brighter with higher contrast. As you move back into the painting, the colors become a little more dull and there is less detail. Jade was a beautiful dog and I really enjoyed painting her!
This afternoon I’m heading to the store to pick up some supplies for making snow globes. ‘Tis the season!
Here is the painting that I’ve been working on to give away. It is going to a woman I know who is very generous. This past year her dog Jade, who she loved very much, died. I know it’s been difficult for her, and I decided to paint a portrait of Jade to send to her this year. She doesn’t know I’m doing this, and I don’t think she reads my blog but you never know…it is a public blog, after all. My plan is to mail it to her next week.
I am almost finished, but I’ll share the first couple of images with you. You can’t tell from the pictures, but the painting is 18″x24.”
I’ll be back with an update by the end of the week!
*Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2!
Last time I posted the painting of Dante it looked like this:
After working on it a bit more, a lot of the lines and details became more refined. Here is the finished painting (sans my signature because I forgot to take a picture after I signed it):
This is the second memorial portrait that I’ve worked on, and I really do love doing these paintings. Of course, it is sad to think about the lives that were lost and the grieving families, but if painting these portraits helps in any way then I am glad to do it. I truly enjoyed getting to know Dante through working on this painting, and through the words of his aunt Maria. Here is something that she wrote about him:
Dante was a 22 year old young man who was loved by so many people. He studied at Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Orlando, Florida and would have graduated this year. He loved his family & friends and was the type of guy that would be there for anyone to listen and always gave great advice. He also loved music and had made a CD with some close buddies. His favorite saying was “The Sky’s the Limit!” He loved is sister Alex and his dad, also named Dante, was his best friend. His family and friends miss him a lot and he will never be forgotten.
**See Part One of this project here.
After the black and white layer, I started to add color. I like to work on the background at the same time as the figure. The reason is that if I paint the figure first and then go back and do the background last, it messes up the coloring of the figure. In a painting, the true appearance of a color depends on what is next to it. For example, the same green will look different if it’s next to a blue as opposed to a yellow.
Maria, the woman who commissioned the portrait, asked for a beach at sunset for the background. I didn’t want the sunset to appear too traditional and found a picture that I took in Turks and Caicos a few years ago for the reference.
It’s always a little blurry at this stage and gets refined as I work on it. I’ll be back again soon with the finished product. See you then!
I am a pretty avid blog reader. Sometimes I’ll revisit a blog that hasn’t been updated for a while, and I get annoyed at how there’s nothing new to read. Then I think of my own blog which hasn’t been updated since June 11th! Oops!
Well, I can’t promise that it will get better permanently, but I do have a string of posts coming up about a special commission that I completed in May. I didn’t post anything while I was working on it, because it was supposed to be a bit of a surprise.
Maria contacted me and asked me to paint a portrait of her nephew Dante who recently died in a motorcycle accident at the age of twenty-two. She wanted me to paint a portrait of Dante for his dad using this photo with a few adjustments. Dante is the one on the left.
Since it was a small photo, I opted to use a grid to get the proportions right on a larger scale. The canvas is 16″ x 20″.
Next, I erased the grid lines as well as I could, and sprayed the drawing with fixative so that the pencil wouldn’t wash away when I put paint over it. Using acrylic paints, I did a wash of Burnt Sienna on the canvas. Then I did a black and white under-painting with acrylic paint.
I didn’t know Dante, but I loved hearing about what kind of a man he was and I wish I could have met him. I will write more about him when I show you the completed painting. In the mean time, stay tuned for more updates.
Sue brought a very special puppy named Seamus into her home a month before tragedy struck. When her mother died suddenly, Seamus became the reason she had to get out of bed in the morning. Being a rather rambunctious puppy, Sue had to care for Seamus and take him on walks. Sue jokes that her siblings think she’s crazy for loving Seamus so much, but I think it’s plain to see why she does. They have been through a lot together, and in Sue’s words, “share a special bond.” I like what she called him in her most recent email to me. Her Heart Dog.
I had a lot of fun painting Seamus. It was even cooler to hear Sue’s story and to hear how much he means to her. Here is the finished piece.
Sue described her 50th birthday as one that she will never forget. She said, “When I was presented with your blog, it brought tears to my eyes that my family would think enough of me to give me something that mattered to only me!”
Today was quite a productive day for me. It is the first time I’ve really painted in mine and Eric’s new house. Admittedly, my studio space leaves a lot to be desired at the moment, but it is functional and I am grateful for that.
But enough about my studio. Here is the work I got done today:
I chose a solid background so that the attention is on Seamus. I still have a little work to do on details and proportions so that it looks more like him. For example, his nose is too wide in the painting. Also, the colors of the collar and background can easily be changed if Sue prefers a different look. I may not get a chance to work on this painting again until Friday, so I’m glad that I got a lot done today.
Ahhh, it feels good to be back!
I may have said this before, but I love working from black backgrounds. When I did the paintings of the fawns, I started out with a black background. I am going to do the same for the painting of Sue’s dog, Seamus.
Because he is a black dog and dark colors will take over the majority of the canvas, it makes sense to paint the canvas black so that less dark layers will be required overall. I used acrylic paint, because it dries quickly. Then I sketched him using white chalk.
When working with white chalk, mistakes can easily be erased with a damp cloth.
Next, I’ll continue with oil paint. My goal is to finish this painting by the tenth of January. I think this piece will move pretty quickly. Famous last words?
Today is a special day. And to mark this special day, Tom and Amy McNamara, Bob and Chris McNamara and Cyndi and Young Song have asked me to paint a portrait for their sister Sue. It is her birthday! The subject? Sue’s adorable dog, Seamus. Here he is:
Doesn’t he have such a great face?
Normally I stretch my own canvases, but this time I bought a 12″x12″ canvas at Michael’s. You can’t tell from this photo, but it has a good, thick frame that will stand out from the wall by an inch and a half.
I quickly did a thumbnail sketch so that I could plan out the composition. Here is what I came up with:
Sue, I wish you a very happy birthday and a wonderful and blessed year. I will keep posting updates so that you can see the progress of this painting over the next couple of weeks. If you want to give any input on the painting, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
I am so happy to have finished the paintings of Eric and me. Here they are (although poorly photographed):
There is something that I have been wanting to talk about for a couple of weeks, and it seems as if now is the best chance I’ll get. I say this because these paintings depict something that I have been thinking about constantly since starting them last November. Before you get worked up, let me say that I am not pregnant. In fact, this month marks one year since we started trying to get pregnant and there is no end in sight. I felt the need to tell you this, because I know that there are a lot of women out there who are in this situation as well. (You know you are one if your trash cans are filled with negative pregnancy tests and ovulation predictors, you keep a thermometer next to your bed, you get choked up when talking about getting pregnant, you cry when you get your period, you try any silly thing you think could increase your chances of getting pregnant (I think I’ll try Mucinex before ovulation next), you find yourself online shopping for baby clothes even if you’re not going to buy anything…the list goes on.) It is such a sad existence, but if you’re going through it I want you to know that you are not on your own.
If you can relate to this post, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me a little about yourself. Almost everyone knows someone who is pregnant, but it’s a lot harder to find those who have struggled or are struggling to get pregnant even though there are many. It is an even more difficult thing to face when you feel like you’re the only one.
If you have a friend who is trying to get pregnant and you don’t know what to say to her, just tell her that you’re praying (but only if you really are), or that you are sorry and you are there for her. Please be sensitive and try to put yourself in her shoes. Comments like “Are you pregnant?” or “You look pregnant” often give false hope or rub salt on a wound. And, unless you struggle(d) with the same thing, tread very carefully when giving advice. ”It’s in God’s timing” is something that a lot of people say to me. Although it is true and it is a nice reminder, it makes me want to say “Believe me, I know better than anyone. It’s certainly not my timing!” Also things like “It will happen soon” or “before you know it” are pretty hard to hear. ”Soon” and “Before I know it” came and went long ago.
And lastly, if you are pregnant, I hope you can always remember what an amazing gift you’ve been given. Never take it for granted.