Life Changing Weekend, 4 Dogs Commission - Day 1, The Freedom of Direct Painting
First thing I want to start off with is that I had a super transformative weekend that I will share more information about very soon! It really requires its own blog post so stay tuned for that.
With all these good feelings, I started day 1 of painting a portrait commission, which is quite a portrait to undertake. It's a portrait of 4 very regal looking dogs which is the most dogs I've painted in a single painting; I sort of feel like I'm painting The Night Watch of dogs haha. (Of course I'm joking with that). So I've spent some solid time planning it out and sketching it and I feel very good about its beginning.
I've always felt that the painters I admire the most were the most direct painters. There's no "magic" or smoke and mirrors of technique to rely on. It's just straight there, nothing else. Maybe I've reached this point because I have indeed tried many layered techniques of painting. But the problem always was that I felt like I was paying more attention to the technique than the subject matter.
The technique is merely a way to convey your image and, for me, I want the viewer to feel the direct presence and realism of these dogs or whatever I'm painting. I know there's an infinite number of paths to take which can make it confusing, but I think the best way to paint is just be completely in the moment and almost listen for guidance. Think of the guidance coming from something beyond yourself. Listen for the muse.
Have great week everyone.
3/10/2020 11:37:25 pm
Hi you did a wonderful composition. I am struggling at the moment with how to place the 4 dog images I was given for a client. The photos are extremely bad and old. All dogs passed away. Is there a rule how to place them? I like the way you did it with the 2 darks ones at the back. Thank you so much . I would love to hear from you and also see the finished project 😊
3/12/2020 11:55:55 am
Hi Gabriele, Thanks for your comment and kind words. To be honest, I find portrait commissions to be impossible to do with low-quality photos, especially for the color. Aside from specific commissions, I only work from life for this reason. For composition, I recommend trial and error through sketches until you reach a balanced arrangement. It takes time until you find the right placement, but that's what sketchbooks are all for! Try to keep it balanced and not crop off at major areas (i.e. neck or limbs) If you're going to crop the dogs, then crop them in midsection points. I posted some follow-up images in subsequent blog posts that you could search on my website for. All my best to you and happy painting!
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