Archive for July, 2013

Making portraits of loved ones… and some of them happen to be dogs! And children…

July 30, 2013
"Bill Murray, Katie's dog, Summer 2013", acrylic, 8 x 10"

“Bill Murray, Katie’s dog, Summer 2013″, acrylic, 8 x 10”

When I paint family members, mainly our kids and pets, I can get a likeness but not the correct age. Isn’t that strange? When I painted my daughters, as young children, the final image often seemed what they might look like in a couple of years. Seems now true of this painting of daughter Katie’s dog Bill. (Still not sure why he is named Bill Murray.) Bill is really skinner than this portrait, but I bet in a couple of years he will fill out and look JUST like this! (…she said, hopefully…) At least I got the one floppy ear right.

Pets and kids don’t ever sit still, so they are really hard to photograph, much less paint. Sometimes I wonder how the old masters painted children if they didn’t have access to photography. Well, I guess the Impressionists did have forms of early photography.

"The Child's Bath", by Mary Cassatt

“The Child’s Bath”, by Mary Cassatt

This painting by Mary Cassatt is one of my favorites. Did she have a photograph to work with? However could a person paint this from memory if a photo reference was not at hand? I would love to know the answer to this. Research… (But still, isn’t this a wonderful oil painting?)

Bess, our black lab, photo and digital print making, about 2003

Bess, our black lab, photo and digital print making, about 2003

Animals are hard to photograph, but black dogs, horses and cats are VERY hard to capture. After years of photographing our dog Bessie, I finally got a photo with enough highlights in her coat I could change up with hints of color in Photoshop to somehow reflect her sweet personality out in the fields she loved to explore and hunt. I made a print for hubby and framed it for his birthday. We lost Bessie unexpectedly about 2 years later when she had a seizure, at the age of 10. We still miss her very much. She literally grew up with our daughters, and Rob has many stories to tell of her training smarts. I have my own stories. Bessie was a great watch dog.

I believe it’s nice to make personal paintings and photos. Mine are not meant to be a part of an art exhibit, or a portfolio. They are just for me, and family. I have a need to put some soul into my work. This will always be a way I can say I did that, for whatever it’s worth.


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