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 - Pleased to Meet You

From 2005, a gallery stretched painting titled "Pleased to Meet You (Introductions)," a lifesized portrait (20" x 18") of three labs. 

All week long, I've been sharing older paintings, talking about what I would do differently today. It's been a great process - really reminding me that, despite my own feelings that I don't know much about painting, I actually do know quite a bit more than I did just a few short years ago.

Today's painting, well, if I were to tackle this one again, I simply would choose not to paint it at all. The composition is so bad. The idea is fantastic, but I allowed myself to fall in love with the idea instead of the execution. That's impetuousness for you!

But I'll critique it anyway:

1. Compositionally, there is a nice central point, but the yellow dog's head is a tough read, and the chocolate's front leg is awkwardly cropped. Furthermore, the black dog's back mimics the chocolate dog's head and neck - it's hard to look at anything else. There are so many other ways I could have approached this concept, but instead I painted the photo as it was, and stifled my artistic license altogether.

2. Modeling form by only changing the value of color is a beginner's mistake. It's also the hallmark of relying too much on a photo reference. 'Nuff said.

3. There is no light source, which makes the forms float oddly in the picture plane. The dogs need to be anchored with shadows and a light source. Again, allowing the photo to direct my decision making. Not a good choice.

4. The edgework here is uniformly crisp. I know, super boring, right? loosen up and lose some of those edges and create interest in how the form is depicted.

5. I haven't talked at all this week about embracing materials, but this painting seems to be a good example of NOT doing that. It's very flat and smooth and bears little trace of brushstrokes. Don't get me wrong - I have the utmost respect for photorealist artists and how they manage to create a super smooth surface, but that just doesn't move or engage me like juicy brushwork. Create a gorgeous rendering that breathes, and then remind me somewhere, in either your gesture or your surface, that it's just paint. Allow me to see your hand, and that gives me a window to your thoughts, and hence an emotional connection to your work.

I'm off to my easel now to practice what I preach. Feel free to join me!

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

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