Paintings With Soul

Since October 2006 I've been a daily painter, creating a new pet portrait at least 5 times per week. Over the years I've expanded my offerings to include a variety of animals, pets, race horses, children and other treasured heirlooms. In addition, I accept a limited number of commissions each year.

In 2015 I am honored to be the Kentucky Derby Artist.

You may use the links below right to receive my daily paintings via email or to follow my blog with a feed. I post additional info, including in-process jpgs and other related information, on the studio Facebook page as well.

Meanwhile, thanks
so much for your continued support of my artwork.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What I Have Learned - Pippen

From 2004, a gallery stretched painting titled "Pippen," a lifesized portrait (20" x 34") of a miniature horse.  I heard 3 or 4 years ago that this painting was for sale in northern Michigan, although it initially sold via a gallery downstate for a horse crazy little girl's bedroom. I do hope that Pippen has a home now......

Continuing our walk down memory lane, I'm sharing older pieces and talking about what I would do differently today. Just because I would do things differently does not reflect poorly on my initial effort (well, not always - yesterday's painting was a really bad one!). Pippen here is a nice example of a fun and successful painting.

However, there are still things I would do differently.

1. Hello, photo reference!! How can I tell? well, the darks and inky blacks are even, regardless of their distance from the viewer's eye. And the highlights are all evenly white, regardless of the local color. And that shadow? dang but it's harshly dark and dead. I have learned in the 10 years since painting Pippen that photos are only a starting point, and that they lie about many, many things. For one, shadows are not automatically black. Additionally, an object in shadow grays out as it recedes from our eyes. Photos rarely demonstrate this phenomenon.

1a. Also, highlights are not automatically pure white!

2. My color sensibilities have changed remarkably. Pippen is modeled true to form,  but there is no color/life/variety in the shadows that indicate reflected light, local color, and his environment. And seriously, the shadow his brown body cast on a yellow green ground would not be rusty brown - it would carry undertones of the ground. And that ground would also be reflected back off his muzzle and belly, and maybe even in some of the underside of his mane. And his body would be modeled with a range of color - not just brown pushed into different values with whites and blacks. Same goes for his darker markings.....

3. Brushwork can be similar and predictable (boring!), or it can be varied and fascinating and pull the viewer through the whole surface. The same could be said for edges - I could lose more edges inside of Pippen and along his shadow, and the painting would be far more interesting.

Again, I'm not slamming this piece or saying it's no good - all I'm pointing out is that I've learned a few things over the years that, in my opinion, would turn this into a stronger portrait. And, hopefully in another 10 years, I'll be able to say the same about my current work.

As will any of you who are actively creating!

Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork,

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