two dog commission
This week I had five commissioned paintings to work on for five different people---most of them intended as Christmas presents so I was never really swamped---but it was enough on my plate to get me motivated to finish a few of these post-haste. If nothing else it would clear the way for new commissions between now and the end of the year.
The painting below was one of the five, and it was the largest of them at 24x18". The reference photo dictated, in some way, the style of the painting as it was low on detail and awash in sunlight. The first decision I had to make was whether to change things up a bit---I didn't mind the overall design but the sunlit sofa could be darkened or I could have altered its color (this would have had a great effect on the painting and, though it could have improved things, I decided to start by replicating the feel of the photo).
Per usual, I went right in with paint, roughing in the positions of the two dogs and the lines of the sofa. The painting came together quickly and I found this somewhat loose, abstract style to be a good fit for the subject matter. The German shepherd in the foreground worked for me right away--in fact most of its body is made up of paint from my first pass on the painting. The proportionally small beagle in the background gave me a little trouble but a shortening of its size and a reshaping of its head made the thing work in the end. The only other major thing that needed changing was defining the shape of the sofa more clearly and creating a darker boundary for the top and bottom of the painting, in the form of the gray shadowy areas and the line along the top---this just helped to hem in the piece so that the two reclining dogs weren't just floating untethered in a sea of white. I also added a touch of color (red-orange and blue-green) in the edges as well, repeating the colors of the dogs and unifying the otherwise monochromatic painting.
In my opinion, the finished piece turned out magnificently, and I am pleased to report that the client loves the painting!