Yellow Lab Painting Continues


At this stage on my portrait of the yellow lab Mack, I’m softening my color transitions so it looks less harsh and more realistic. And even though the placement matched the photograph, I’ve adjusted Mack’s nose so it appears straighter across the top. It’s not uncommon that something you see in a photo just doesn’t look right in a painting.

People often tell a portrait artists “oh, that painting looks just like a photo” and I hear that with mixed feelings. I want you to feel a sense of reality, but I also want you to feel that the painting gives you something different from a photo–hopefully it catches a feeling you have about your pet’s character and emphasizes it. Also because it is a painting, I can often change or fix something that wasn’t perfect in the photo. Perhaps your pet had a bad hair day, or sadly as is sometimes the case, was aging or was sick and you could see that in its eyes. And of course, a painting can address the problem of “flash eyes” from a camera flash.

So while I strive to make my paintings look real–I don’t try to make them photorealistic. There are artists who love doing that but I’m not one–I like to think that what I paint just feels real to the heart.