This dog's name was Ritz - CH OTCH Fallon Fancy Put on the Ritz UDX. He left his family about a year ago. He lived a long full life and his loss has left a hole in his family's hearts. Ritz was bred by his owner, her only litter. He was originally to go to a pet home, but stayed with her as a show pup. He went on to become a Champion and an OTCH - a once in a lifetime dog.
While working on the portrait, his owner shared photos of Ritz with me as well as stories. It is always such a tug at my heart to see how a dog touched the lives of his family members. At times it is just tears at your heart to hear the role a dog has played in the family all the while knowing they are gone. It is all too close to home. We've all lost dogs and we all mourn the loss of our dogs. No matter how long our dogs are with us, it is never long enough.
When choosing the primary reference photo there was no question. His owner had a fabulous photo of him sitting in the woods during the wintertime. In the photo, there were some details in the background that I chose to alter so that the background would not compete with Ritz as the focal point of the painting. There were some trees and an area of snow that were too light. At the same time, there were some shadows on the trees that were too dark. Those "too lights and too darks" were eliminated in the background. On the bottom right, in the snow shadows, I used an upward movement so that the snow banks would lead the viewer up to Ritz and rest on his image as the focal point.
Thank you to Ritz' family for allowing me to know Ritz through the process of painting his portrait - it was a great honor.