I am always honored to create custom pet portraits for my patrons and the way I do it is often directly from photo references. There's a ton of debate over the use of photo references and I believe it's a balance to find what works for you as an artist. To me, photography is a tool that artists should use but not rely on (as they have for well over 100 years now). The other factor is that it's important to always paint from life as much as possible to bolster your photo references.
The other thing to remember is that a painting is not a photograph and shouldn't be compared as art forms. There are a lot of photo-realistic paintings, which to me are technically very impressive, but often have a lack of heart in them. I never want to compete with a photo in terms of accuracy (because I'll always lose haha) but I do believe I can get more feeling and heart in my paintings.
There are many techniques, processes and pathways to create a painting and however you get there is a special journey and you should use whatever tools you have access to, but having a nice photo reference doesn't mean you'll end up with a nice painting..
I'm very excited to announce that I am finally back open for pet portraits! It's been a while and I really have missed created custom pet portraits for pet lovers worldwide. You can order yours today via instagram @ericsantoli or through my website by contacting me directly through my CONTACT PAGE!
You can also check out my current end of summer sale prices which are in effect until September 1st 2019!
I had a big shift in my process and my thoughts today as I began a portrait for my neighbors. This portrait is a gift for them for taking care of my fish for me while I was away on vacation to Spring Lake. I began the portrait today after feeling lost for a while in my own thoughts about painting. So I just began painting and trying to return to myself. Trying almost to turn my brain off while I paint. The main thing that I've been feeling for a very long time is that I haven't been myself. I've been trying to be someone else and paint like someone else.
The portrait that I'm currently working on is very similar to a portrait that I painted for these same neighbors back in 2013 while I was a student. I still believe it's one of the nicer paintings that I've ever done. I did it over the course of 4 or 5 days and it's always been a guiding light for me to return to. I think a big thing is that I've been hurrying my paintings too much lately, instead of letting them rest and working in a few layers. I got too caught up in the whole alla prima recipe, which I still love but it's not the best way for me to work.
It's so difficult to just listen to your own voice when other influences are so strong. It's like the whole process is stripping away all these layers to just get back to the core of who I was and who I am. I know that I can only do my best work in this manner. It's a constant exploration that I feel happy to undertake and I'm glad to be feeling more myself.