Meet Felix, he has been adopted and my client has asked me to paint his portrait.
I have painted the portrait of another dog for the owner of Felix a while back, which you can see here . My client wanted to match the colors so that it would match with the previously painted portrait.
In the original reference photo Felix's coat was very washed out, which in this case worked in my advantage. Using Photoshop I was able to adjust the beige and brown tones so that they would be much lighter values of the colors found in Goose's painting. Then it was time to do a search for suitable backgrounds. My client really liked the birch trees. It was important to him to show Felix's bounciness and joyful face. I figured romping around in a forest would make any dog feel happy and we ended up using that backdrop.
Since nothing is ever easy, I had to first remove all the grass and isolate Felix from his original background. Then the background had to be manipulated to appear as if Felix is actually running through the forest.
Here you can see what a different scale makes. Isolated the middle image would have worked just fine, but when comparing it to the 1st painting, the scale would have been very off. Of course what I like, might not be what my client likes, so everything had to be discussed via email. This is how I work with all my commissioned portrait clients, since they have to love what I paint for them.
Sometimes the prep work can take a long time and I was relieved when I finally was able to start on the painting. Just like with oil paintings, my painting process starts by blocking in the shapes and colors.
The block in stage does two jobs. It allows both my client and I to get a feel for the general layout and color. Furthermore it helps me to work out problem areas. Felix's front and back leg in the original photo were just one undistinguishable blob. By reconstructing the front leg, poor Felix can run much better through the forest and won't be called a gimp. :)
I like to show you some closeups so you can see how the paint is build even when the medium is digital. Here I am trying to incorporate some of the brown tones that are in Goose's painting and at the same time make Felix's ears look natural and not as flat as in the reference photo.
The gateway to the eyes are my favorite part to paint. I believe that the soul has to shine through and I spend a good amount of time trying to get the eyes to be perfect.
Paintings have a hierarchy, meaning that some things are kept a bit more on the blurry side so that other areas can really stand out. It's a little trick that oil painters use and I do apply this in my digital paintings as well. We do not need to count Felix's teeth and can leave that for another time.
It's back to the forest, which underwent a bit of a tweaking. Up to this stage the painting was still in the first stages. As with my oil paintings, I resist each and every area to further enhance the details and to add texture to the painting for visual interest.
Many hours later, I was happy with the painting and it was time to compare the two paintings side by side before sending Felix's final painting version to my client for approval.
And her it is the finished and approved portrait of Felix. I love the warm tones of the painting and can't wait for my client to frame it. If you like to order a similar portrait of your pet click below for available sizes and rates.