Thursday, August 20, 2009
Here it is, the finished portrait of my Rat Terrier, Cloud. 18 x 18 inches, acrylic on Canvas.
Sometimes it's hard for me to find the words to explain what this little dog means to me. All dogs are precious to me, but this one... I've never seen a dog convey the emotions he does, and I've never had a dog SO aware of me. His love and devotion can make me cry. In fact, there were times while I was working on this painting that I had to stop because I would be overcome by the exchange of love that was going on - from me to him through his image on the canvas, and from him looking back at me as he came to life in paint. It may sound crazy, but I know I have readers who understand what I'm saying.
Back to the painting... we all know the eyes will make or break any portrait regardless of species, and they are my favorite thing to paint. The eyes are of course the main focus of this piece - his sweet, trusting, loving eyes mirroring my adoration.
But I'd like to talk a moment about ears. I LOVE painting dog ears! Not only are they fun to paint, (a miniature landscape unto themselves,) but they are a major part of a dogs body language and, certainly in Cloud's case, not only contribute mightily to his expressiveness, they are a huge part of who he is! There's no ignoring those babies... I mean, one of his nicknames is "Ears." (Heehee) So I really try to put a lot of thought and care when I paint doggie ears.
I also wanted the background to express a lot of emotion - somewhat ethereal to express the purity and eternalness of love, yet grounded with my beloved Earth tones to express how solid and real these things are.
I've had people ask if I could ever sell any of my Cloud paintings. No more then I could sell Cloud! When I'm working on a painting, everything I'm feeling about what I'm painting goes into each brushstroke. So selling a painting with that much personal meaning would be too hard for me. Dog portraits are something to treasure for a lifetime!
To give you an idea of the scale, here is a shot of me and Cloud with the painting:
Oh, those ears! I really love the statement big dog paintings make. I had so much fun with this, and look forward to continuing to work large. On my easel there is an 18 x 24 inch blank canvas, calling softly to me...