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"Stanley," 4" x 8", done in acrylics on a museum quality panel, one of two paintings starring this sweet little muse. Inquiries may come to me.


I was commissioned to paint Stanley here, and I had the best sort of problem. That being that my reference photos were TOO good (this is a rare problem, but one that I absolutely love to encounter).

The photos were SO VERY good that I couldn't choose just one to paint. 

I tried. I worked from my client's favorite one, creating the portrait above. And yet I wasn't ready to put my brushes down.

So I decided to start another. And shot an email off to my client that she would have a decision to make. And picked up my brushes a second time.

And I nearly got it finished. Took a break for ballet class. Then a basketball game. Then a band concert. Then dinner. Then a glass of wine. Then some chocolate.

And then reality kicked in full force.

Things will just have to wait until tomorrow.

It's a good thing Stanley's patient.

Although, I could make it a late nite.......

What Makes a Good Reference Photo?

Well, first off, the animal needs to be in focus. You would think this is obvious, and yet.....

And the animal needs to be larger than thumbnail size. Honest, I can't pull facial details out of a 1" wide image - I've tried!

Turn the flash off on your camera. Flashbulbs scare animals and wash out details like hair growth patterns, irises and actual fur coloring.

Experiment with different angles. Shoot from their eye level, the floor, directly above.

Take advantage of natural lighting. Doorwalls and windows at a 90 degree angle to the dog provide a wonderful source of illumination.

Take a look online at some professional pet photographers. Do a little research. 

Just depress the shutter button and move around your dog - then review what you've taken. You will be surprised!!


  1. Anonymous11:15 PM

    I have started telling people to "Santini the eyes" when they are photographing animals (or people) but fail to preserve the "life" in the eyes. If they have no idea what I mean, I tell them to look at your paintings.

    "Santini" 1. (verb), to enliven again, with light and color

    EXCELLENT work.

    - Cindy

  2. La douceur de Stanley est superbement traduite dans cette peinture. La joie des couleurs... j'aime ça!
    Gros bisous

  3. Cindy, you are so funny! That's quite a compliment, and I really appreciate it!!

    Martine, merci!! :) Kim


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