Saturday, December 22, 2012


A few posts back I showed a commissioned painting that I did of two poodles.
It was hard for me because they were black and I couldn't figure out how to show definition.
And then there was also the fact that I only had one photo to go by and it was a side view.

So I painted a painting and the client liked it but said that it looked nothing like them.............

I asked for more photos.

One of the dogs always refused to look at the camera, so it was hard to paint him.

Also in the photos I suddenly realized that they didn't have mustaches but instead it was beards.
Like billy goats.
She also emailed me a photo of 2 Portuguese water dogs....

Could I paint the dogs like the ones in the photos but with the coats of the these water dogs? (which these poodles didn't have) but still try to capture their "look".
At this point I was mentally freaking.
I sat with the canvas in my lap as I squinted at the photos on my laptop.
Looking back and forth and dabbing paint hesitantly.
I finally finished the two poodles and then added the beards.
I told her that was the best I could do and she said OK.
The next morning at work I showed several of my co-workers a photo of the painting.
They said it looked weird but then poodles with chin-puff beards looked weird too.

Later in the morning I went up to my co-worker that says she loves my work
and who I also consider a friend.
I told her that I had a problem giving that painting to the client.
I said that I "didn't want that out there in the world" and that I was so disappointed with it.
Her response was that she totally agreed. She could understand why I felt that way.
She said if she were me, she wouldn't want the painting "out there" either!
I was so frustrated.
Then she said I should just scribble it out like I do other drawings that my co-workers love.
I am always scribbling quick sketches of my boarders on their cage cards.
Initially I started doing that when I had someone working for me who I was worried she wouldn't know which dog was which.
(I did not hire her, the vet did and fortunately she ended up quitting)
But I had many people tell me that they love my sketches and they have asked me to do some of their dogs.
In fact one of my co-worker has now commissioned me to do one of these type of sketches of her dogs on canvas.
She told me that she prefers my more spontaneous style and thinks there are more people that would love them too.
(she has specific poses and colors etc. in mind for these spontaneous drawings but said I'm free to do whatever I want.)
That night I went home and instead of leaning over and tightly drawing, I tried to come up with something that felt right and true to me.
I scribbled.
and then I painted.
I used black and white but also blue and purple.
I got out of my own head and just did it.
I emailed her a photo and she agreed that she liked this one much better.
A lesson learned.
(oh, and yes, I can hear you Christer, laughing.)


Robin Kent said...

So lively! Wonderful lesson learned! With fantastic results! The best Christmas gift for you and your client! I think every artist goes through this trial. And comes out successful when they realize they aren't suppose to make a piece that looks like a photo, or tightly obsessed over, or worse: like someone-you-think-how-it-should-look's version. They want YOUR work! I think this collector got it in spades! Congrats!

Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

Oh...yes...this one is delightful. Of course she must love it. This one looks like you were having fun when you painted it.

Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

I don't know about poodles with beards...I think that very odd.

An Urban Cottage said...

I want a purple dog! I love it!

Anonymous said...

:-) :-) :-)
The last one is so much better! I'm glad You decided to do just that!

Have a great day!

sassypackrat said...

I love the last one. It's fun and I think more you.

Gillian said...

I know what you mean. Sometimes I do the same thing... I know it's just NOT RIGHT.

Your friend gave you good advice. Sometimes that's all you need to go "but of course" and get out of the first way of thinking into something more free and different.

Well done!

The Itsy Bitsy Spill said...

Love how fun, it's beautiful! The last one have such happy eyes. I love the colors! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year love! Sending love and peace!

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

By George you have got it!!!! They look like they are well loved pups and have a bit of stinker in them! Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart