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“Buffy (Long Haired Tortie Study),” 4” x 5”, feline portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (thank you!).

When clients send over a stack of reference photos for a commissioned dog-a-day painting, usually one or two of the images (sometimes more than that, if I’m lucky!) scream “Paint me!” That simplifies the process completely – I allow that particular image to steer the size of the finished piece, and use bits from the other photographs to add details here and there.

But sometimes I’m not so lucky, and the client can only scrape together a photo or two. With Buffy here, all I had to work from was one tiny 2” high photo, in which her face was less than 1/4” high. To further complicate matters, the photograph was taken with a flash, which practically wiped out what detail was left in the tiny image. I was comfortable taking this on only because Buffy looked so much like a tortie that owned me not so long ago.

Despite my confidence, I did almost chuck this painting twice. But I grit my teeth, rubbed the mess out, and started over again.

I did opt to use artistic license here, though. I focused entirely on Buffy’s eyes, since those were the only things that were clear in the photo. I fudged the other details, but it worked because of the soft edges and the scale. I’m not certain that this sort of approach would work on a larger painting. It does warrant a try, though!!

Now I’m off to put what I hope are the finishing touches on two other dog portraits.

Meanwhile, thanks as always, for looking.
And for sharing these paintings with your friends and family.
I’m enjoying the emails that you send, and do my best to respond within a day or two.
Thanks again,

Kimberly Kelly Santini
distinctive pet portraits
& 4-legged paintings
come. sit. stay.
enjoy the art.

Founding member of the Canine Art Guild
the gateway to canine art on the web


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