This is an original pastel painting of Autumn, Ch. Summit Rise Thyme in a Bottle, CD.
Autumn's owners had sent a number of photos of Autumn for the portrait. There just wasn't the perfect photo. Then, all of a sudden, there were two photos that were just great. The perspectives were correct, the expression of the dog was soft, there were some nice highlights and shadows, the reference material was ideal. We all agreed which photo would be the primary reference pose and the painting was started. In the two photos shown above, the photos were taken in such a way that I couldn't see the length of Autumn's ears. Fortunately, there were other reference photos that gave me the details that were missing from the primary photos.
I've added some green highlights through out the portrait ( such as in the coat, the nose, the eyes and eye lids) to create a color harmony with the background. I always emphasis to my collectors, it is important to realize my goal is not to simply copy a photo. That would be too easy. My goal is to create an original painting based on the likeness of a given animal. I make changes in lights, in darks, in detail around the facial features such as the eyes, nose and mouth. Part of Autumn's bottom lip showed in the reference photo. That was not needed in the painting. There are a number of reflections in both eyes that are not in the photos. There are colors in the nose that are not in the photos. Photos are simply a road map to keep me on track so my paintings capture the likeness of a specific subject. The creativity starts with the photo but ends with my imagination.