Ding Dong Dog Again

Ding Dong Dog

Ding Dong Dog

I have been trying to do a few more animal portraits as samples for my esty shop. I found a nice picture Of Ding Dong Dog and decided to use it. The photo was taken when she was still a puppy – not that she ever really grew up. She was over six before she had much sense in any given situation.

It is okay, except I don’t like the head over much.  I have been thinking about what especially bothers me and I have decided that part of the problem is that the overall size is too small to detail the features the way I want.  I think that for full body portraits I will have to go up in size.  Between the ink work and the watercolor shading there is just not enough space to do it all so it ends up dark and a little muddy looking.  What I may try next is just a head/shoulder shot of her and see if that helps.  In the one featuring Perkins the crabby cat a few posts ago, the face was almost half of the painting and it allowed for a lot more subtlety.

But that will have to wait. Insert happy dance here.  Last Thursday I received two (!!!) orders for custom architectural portraits.  I have spent the last couple of days laying out the pencil drawings and am pretty happy with both of them so far.  One is an 8×10 pen and ink of a cottage and the other is a 10×14 of an old barn.  That one will be watercolor.  I usually use the pastels for the portraits, but this buyer specified watercolors like I did for a couple of barns in my etsy store.  I guess variety is the spice of life.  I look forward to spending the next weeks finishing them.  Stay tuned.

Ding dong dog

Dakota puppy

After wonder dog Brandy came the golden retriever Dakota, otherwise known as Ding Dong Dog. Where Brandy had sense and a calm disposition, Dakota had….well I don’t know what she had except that I’m not sure if she could have more than one thought at a time in her head. And preferably it was an EXCITING thought.  There wasn’t a mean bone in her body, but at 80 pounds in adulthood, her exuberance made her a bit of a handful.  I had rugs with the fringe chewed off and kitchen chairs where the lower rungs were scarred.  Just the right height for a resting puppy to occupy herself.  Rawhide chew toys that were supposed to last weeks were consumed in 2 days.  She definitely did not have the soft bird mouth that Brandy had.  I wish Cesar Milan had been around then as some of his advice would have been quite helpful.  She finally was able to be calmer when she was about 6 1/2.  We had 30-40 teenagers over for a 2000 New Year’s Eve party and all of that activity with so many people finally forced her into brain overload.  After that she was able to have a bit more self-control.

I don’t normally do portraits of people but this photo just seemed so cute.  And Dakota looks so innocent.  Once again I sketched out the picture in pencil and then inked with the  nib pen.  The only part I am unhappy with is the lower lip.  It should be a little bit rounder.  All in all however, since I haven’t done a person portrait in years I am not too displeased.  After the inking, I started in on the watercolor layers.  I took most of the afternoon alternating with the lower collie picture.  Once again I want to not overdo it.  In some ways now I may be too far in the other direction and not putting enough color in.  It is such a fine line.  I will look at these again tomorrow.

Collie portrait

This collie picture is based on a picture of the pet of a relative.  I love sable collies, having grown up reading books by Albert Payson Terhune.  I wanted a Lad of my own and did have a wonderful, gentle collie for a few years after college.  He, like Brandy, was wonderfully balanced and a joy to be around.  Sadly we lost him too soon.  I am pleased with the balance of colors on him although I may come back an add a little bit more definition to the head with the pen.

I’m not sure where I will go from here.  I have a zoo trip in the offing and perhaps another road trip visiting small southern Indiana main streets.  I do have a few more pet photos.  I haven’t decided whether or not to list these in my Etsy store.  Maybe I should set up some listings for breed pictures.  Doing portraiture on commission is a lot scarier than the home portraits.  Our eyes forgive a lot more in architecture than they do in living portraiture.