Saturday, March 6, 2010

White German Shepherd Portrait

My day's all screwed up today. Had a schedule change and for those of you who know me well, you know I freak a little bit when my routine gets messed up. I could have gone and worked at the pet store today, but it would have rushed me too much the entire day, and I don't feel I'd have done a good job. So I shifted things around to be able to go work tomorrow.

As a result, this gave me extra time today to paint. Since I hadn't planned on painting today, I didn't have a subject ready. Don't get me wrong - I have lots of subjects as many have sent me photos to be included as paintings in the Dogs With Toys series! However, I have to mentally prepare myself to paint, and I do that by studying my subject's photo(s) for quite some time before I ever start. It gives me a feel for the personality of the animal if I do that.

Today was different...I hadn't mentally prepared for one particular pet. So I went through my old photo archive with the intent to paint the dog who spoke to me. This white German Shepherd spoke to me in my heart, so he finally had his painting done today. :)

I thought you might enjoy a couple of in progress photos and explain a little about my digital painting method for these paintings.

My first step is to block in colors using palette knives of varying sizes (smaller for detail areas such as the eyes where I want to be very precise, and larger for the background and dog's fur). I do this very quickly, and very choppy, just enough to get the basic forms, shapes and colored areas laid out.

After I've done this, then I blend the paint. I don't blend all areas, as the hard edges from the palette knife give the illusion of fur and separation where I need it. So I blend some areas, and leave other areas alone, until I get the look I want.

I've shared a couple of close ups here so you can see the difference before blending and after.

After I'm satisfied with the main blending, then I use a softer and finer blender to soften some areas, and create tiny wisps of fur in just a few spots. It gives the dog's painting more of a sense of realism, without getting too realistic with my portrayal. My goal with these new paintings is to lighten up, work faster, and maintain a looser, more painterly, style than my realistic work possesses. I often find myself slipping into "realism" mode, striving to get a certain piece of fur as accurate as I can. It's at that point I stand up and walk away for a few minutes...that helps me to get out of that mode before it overtakes me. :)

And finally, the painting is finished.

Want to have your pet's portrait painted? Visit my custom pet portraits page for information and pricing.

Thanks so much for stopping in to view my work and for sharing my website with fellow pet lovers! Comments are always welcome.

♥ Jai
Enjoy my mini art gallery on the front page, and shop for limited edition prints, cards, and gifts with your favorite paintings. Be sure to read the news page for upcoming series, events, contests, and more exciting things!


Colleen @ MuralMaker&More said...

Your work is awesome! Found you thru a RT on Twitter. I paint some animals too, but nothing like your beauties!

Do you use Google Friends Connect? I want to follow your blog!

Jai Johnson • JaiArt.Com said...

Hi Colleen, I put the followers thing on the blog now so you should see it. I'll add your blog to my blog roll too. Thanks so much for your kind comments...I admire those of you who paint murals...that requires a lot of talent!

The Daily Blonde said...

Amazing work. I love these. I'm thinking that I may have you do a painting of my daughter's dog for her birthday. They are inseparable!

Jai Johnson • JaiArt.Com said...

Hi Cheryl, thanks so much! I would love to do a painting of your daughter's dog. I'm sure it would mean a lot to her!