Monday, July 20, 2020

The one and only Clarence - Clumber Spaniel

I was so excited to paint a Clumber.    I'd painted an Irish Setter, Bailey, for Hilary and Pat in the past.   They are wonderful people and I was looking forward to working with them again.  This time they approached me to discuss painting their beloved Clumber, Clarence.  They are so dang adorable.  This is a breed I've always watched at the shows.   Hard to pinpoint the exact attraction, there is just something "happy" about a Clumber.

When it came to accumulating photos for Clarence's painting, his owners had some really fabulous choices.   A number of photos would have worked wonderfully.    They chose a perfect photo for me to use as the primary reference photo.  Clarence was sitting in a regal pose surrounded by a lovely garden of soft fuchsia colored blooms. 

With the white of the Clumber, having a soft blanket of color enveloping him was the ideal background.   The color really allowed Clarence to jump out of the composition as our primary focal point.

I'd asked Hilary and Pat to share some words about Clarence for me to include with his painting in my posts.   Here is what was shared:
As far as info on Clarence, you know that Bailey was our heart dog and we’re honored to have his portrait by you in our home.  We’re lucky to have a second heart dog in Clarence and are thrilled to have his portrait now too. He’s a true gentleman and loves his work as a therapy dog. He makes us smile every single day.

Thank you again!

It was my pleasure to paint Clarence.   He is such a character.   Congrats to Hilary and Pat for the new puppies they have out of Clarence.  His legacy will continue on.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

A painting of Dominick: MBISS MBISS NBIS GCHG PaRay’s Power and Privilege

This painting was something I'd been looking forward to doing.   Dominick's owners had wanted a unique painting of their lovely boy.   I was excited to work with them again.   I had painted their girl, Sloan, a number of years ago.
The goal was to have him in a Victorian setting.   After quite a lot of research and going back and forth with ideas - we had a plan.  I've not done a painting like this before, but what fun it was to create.   Dominick was a Bichon Frise and had a significant impact on the breed.   With that in mind, I wanted the colors of the clothing to reflect Dominick.   The purple and gold colors in the clothing are the colors of the Best of Breed ribbon in the dog show world.  In addition, purple and gold are the colors for the Westminster Kennel Club.   All fitting to include in this dog's painting.   Over the course of the research and the completion of the painting, many conversations were had.  

Following are some snippets of these conversations as well as background information about Dominick.
 Dawn, I have been fascinated by these images since I opened your email!
You are so clever with the angle of the head in position to the chest. Very intriguing.
The image of Dominick (#3)  looking up to the right, without his tongue sticking out - is the one I like best for the portrait. 
Did you flip this image?   Perfect!

Here is a little bit about Dominick:
MBISS MBISS NBIS GCHG PaRay’s Power and Privilege, “Dominick,” was our foundation sire for the Rosemont Bichon Frise line and had 21 litters to his credit.

And... a finished painting:
WOW! Just WOW!!
Beautiful. I think you did an extraordinary job on Dominick's head/face/expression, and the colors are magnificent - soft purple and gold - Westminster, and Best of Breed!
Dominick’s expression is lovely and your eye is perfect.
Martin got the biggest smile our of Dominick’s paw on the cane. It is his favorite part, after Dominick’s head.  I will enjoy it every day!  I can't wait to see the original.  And yes, the background detail is beyond expectations! Thank you very much!!
He will always be a most precious Bichon to me - - my heart dog.
Thank you to Laura and Martin for having me paint their special boy.  It was an honor.

Parker - Original Painting

Here is a painting just finished of Parker, an Irish Setter.     His owner sent me a fabulous reference photo and I couldn't wait to get started.   Not only was Parker's pose wonderful, the background was lovely.   Photos are my road map.   When you are traveling, a map (or GPS) can help you get from point A to point B.  The same holds true when painting a commissioned piece.   I need a map to get from a blank slate to reach a painting that is indeed truly a specific dog.   As an artist, I use liberties to make the composition stronger than the photo.   For this painting, I wanted Parker as large as possible while keeping as much background as possible.  If you look at the reference photo at the bottom of this post,  I've dropped the skyline, added darks where needed and reduced areas that were too dark in the photo.   The water is more emphasized in the painting and more colors were incorporated into the foliage.   There are more "reds -burnt sienna" in the foliage and grasses to create a color harmony that ties into the color of Parker.  In essence, I closely followed the photo, but made something distinct and different - a stronger composition.

I always like to know a little bit about the dogs I am painting.   It turns out, Parker was Lindsey's first Irish Setter.   For those of us who have the breed, we know they are smart, can be independent and have a lot of energy.   When I read what Lindsey sent me about Parker, I had to laugh.   Here is what she said....

My 1st Irish Setter and he taught me so much about training a dog that wasn’t as pleasing in temperament as a German Shepherd. He had a mind of his own and he was very determined. Parker could give you a look that screamed “do you think I am stupid?” The day we took this photo I had been working with him for months on obedience commands and was so proud of him for being such a good boy for the photos.

 Thank you for  having me paint your special boy Lindsey, it was an honor.  He was a gorgeous boy.