Molly, Portrait of a Little Princess
Molly is one very cute little Shih Tzu, and her portrait would be the first painting I had done of her breed. Molly’s guardian wanted a painting of her in her princess costume with its net skirt, shiny sequin crown–and for extra fun, a string of pearls around her neck.
When I reviewed the photos, there was no question which one I wanted to work from. So after cropping the image and adding additional skirt to make it symetrical–I decided to show several options of background colors to see which one my client preferred.
My sketch process is a combination of a hand-drawn pencil sketch composed with a Photoshop digital color file. I like that the fact that using the computer allows me to explore all kinds of options from different backgrounds, variations on cropping and changes to the subject as far as eliminating “red eye”, and opening up tones that are too much in shadow.
Although my initial training was as an illustrator, my past career was as an advertising creative and graphic designer. When I returned to painting a few years ago, I found that many of the skills I had used in advertising were very useful as an artist too. Beyond using Photoshop, advertising gave me an excellent background in learning to communicate with clients.
Having a portrait painted is such an individual and emotional process,and I treasure the back and forth dialogue I have with my clients–learning about their pet, hearing their thoughts on their painting and sometimes, sharing their sadness when a pet has gone.