Friday, March 26, 2010

"Poppy's Long Walk"

20" x 24" Oil on canvas
Commissioned - Sold!

So...a friend asked me to paint a painting for him. He didn't tell me what to paint, he just told me what size and colors he wanted and he left it up to me to choose the subject. I'm still not sure what possessed me to paint a large portrait of this person with his dog, Poppy, but that's what I settled on. I hope he's telling the truth when he says he likes it.

This is my first attempt at portraiture and it was tougher than I thought it would be. When you're painting landscapes, if you need to rearrange something or you're having a tough time with a certain feature, you can just paint it another way. But, when you're painting someone's nose or mouth and you're having a tough time with it, you can't just give them another nose or mouth. You gotta get it right...I told my friend that I've spend an uncomfortable amount of time staring at his face the last few nights.

My plan for this painting was to make it more impressionistic than it ended up. I know of artists who are great at suggesting facial features with color, shape and shadow and I tried to do that here, but I had a tough time making it work. I think I did a better job of suggesting the dog's features than the human's. I really like the way Poppy turned out.

I used two different tactics to create points of focus. The contrast of the bright red jacket against the cool blue of the background should draw your eye to the human and then the sharpness of the edges of the dog and the right side of the human verses the duller edges throughout the rest of the painting should also draw your eye. When I look at this painting, for better or worse, my eye is drawn to the crescent shape above Poppy's hind quarters and below the left arm. This area represents the greatest color contrast and the sharpest lines in the painting.

Oh, and I just realized that I forgot to sign the painting. Just imagine my EB in the lower left corner. I'll write my initials in sky blue to add some balance. Hope you like it. I'm glad to paint you and your dog too.

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