Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas and Dougal-Bottoms!!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas yesterday. I was on the go from the time I woke up until the time I crashed on the couch late, last night and so I never got the chance to wish you all a very Merry Christmas on the actual day. Please forgive me. We had a great time with family yesterday and are very blessed. Above is a picture I snapped the other night as I was wrapping gifts and sticking them under the tree. Truth be told, I was still wrapping a couple yesterday morning, even though my shopping was done a long time ago. I guess that's just how I roll!  :)  

8" x 8"
(private collection)
Now this little guy above is Dougal, who belongs to my brother and sister-in-law. I've been keeping him a secret for a couple of months now and it's been killing me! I don't think they usually read my blog, but I couldn't be too careful, so I didn't even share him with you. I loved painting him! I had snapped the photo a while ago at their house, which brings me to the subject I teased about in my last blog: Good reference photos. They make such a big difference -- at least for me anyway. And while high resolution and clarity are very important, for me, dramatic lighting is equally as important. 

The lighting on the two dogs in my last post, was kind of flat (and this isn't a criticism of the photographer, because taking good photos for an art reference is very different than just taking a good photo and I didn't specify. These were very good photos basically.)  But for my needs, it didn't naturally provide great contrast. And thus, I struggled compositionally with regards to creating interesting value patterns, while maintaining a likeness to the dogs and their coloring. 

After comparing the process of painting Dougal to that of the two dogs, I finally came to the conclusion that I'm just not good at making things up, and that I really need a strong reference that contains great changes in value. So my tip to myself (and that I thought I'd share with you in case you're like me) is to, from now on, obtain only photos that can be cropped to a dynamic composition with regards to shape AND value in addition to clarity and high resolution, otherwise, I really struggle. 

So that's my little tidbit for today. I'm off to vacuum and paint. I hope you like Dougal-Bottoms -- my brother and sister-in-law were very happy and surprised!  I'm excited to share with you my newest painting, so keep tuning in. Cheers!


  1. Your pieces with these beautiful dogs are fabulous!
    What nice gifts for your relatives. Happy Holidays to you and all the best for 2013!

  2. Nul doute, Douglas est un bon et brave toutou. Vous avez magnifiquement bien capturé son âme... Je suis certaine aussi que ses maîtres étaient ravis et fascinés par votre travail talentueux.

    Doucement avec l'aspirateur !

    Gros bisous et tous mes voeux pour 2013.

    1. Ha-ha, Martine! :) Thank you for your kind words. Happy New Year!

  3. I could not agree with you more regarding obtaining good photo references with great value contrast! In the past I realized that I just cannot seem to pull a painting off from a grey-day photograph, and set off the do some exercises deliberately from such photos as practice. The results were... Let's just say not so ideal in the least, and I've since decided that there are so many wonderful photo with great value patterns that I can paint from, why should I waste my limited life trying to generate a good painting from a non-inspiring reference? (Well, doing a commission is kind of a very important reason actually...) I love this painting so much! It did capture the dramatic light and his whimsical expression in the same time. I have no doubt your family are going to be crazy about it...

    1. We are so much alike, Arena. :) Thank you so much for commenting.


Thank you so much for commenting!