Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thing-a-week: Pet portraits

Like many artists, I'm a bit of an animal nut. My spouse and I share a home with a couple of feisty cats (as if there's any other kind) and a 65-lb Shepherd-X. It's hard to do anything without some sort of animal interference: the dog tap-dancing in the kitchen while I'm cooking, a cat pawing at my wet palette while I'm painting.

Portrait of Henry J. Sasano, 11x14, acrylic on canvas

But I've never tried painting my animal friends -- or anyone else's. So, this weekend, I decided to try my hand at pet portraiture, starting with the very personable Henry J. Sasano, a Boston Terrier who owns my good friend Mari Sasano (an Edmonton freelance writer).

It seemed easier to start with someone else's pup, rather than my own dog, who I see every day. I worked from a photo from Mari's Facebook page, and added a whimsical, wintery backdrop since Henry's a big fan of dog parks.

It's not a bad first try, I think, although I'd do it differently, next time. In hindsight, I should have picked a more active shot of Henry, to capture his fun-loving personality. In my portrait, he seems to be saying, 'Uh, now what?'

Photo of Henry, taken by Mari Sasano
After hitting up a great art sale at de Serres on Saturday, I had loads of fresh paint and canvas on hand and decided to do another portrait -- this time, of my Truman.

It is, perhaps, the cheesiest thing I've ever painted. However, Truman may also be the cheesiest dog you'll ever meet. He smiles with his whole face and generally, the tongue is lolling and the tail's a-wagging. In many photos, he looks a little nuts, actually. But don't be deceived -- he's a little nuts in real life, too! (It runs in the family).

Truman, looking a little nuts.

Photo inspiration #1
Photo inspiration #2
As always, check out Mike Kendrick's Thing-a-Week too! He creates excellent portraits of humans and dinosaurs. :)

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