Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Interpretation....the art of the art of your companion animal.

Painting, Behind the scenes....from one artist.

I was looking at my work sitting on the easel and thought about how the curve of one tiny stroke of paint can change a whole piece of work. And has.
You wouldn't think that a speck of paint or a small change of color tone or value would be a big deal.
This is the real magic of creating art. Or trying to.
Laying down color one stroke at a time is painting. But it is more than that...it is one person's conception of how they see and then intrepreting that vision in specks and lines of color that come together to create a whole piece.
And no two people see anything the same way and yet we have to have a dialogue that brings different ways of seeing to an agreement of some sort especially with portraits.

If you have ever tried to capture a likeness that next stroke can make it work or take it all away.
It is sometimes like chasing a phantom.
When you DO make just the right decision as you place the next bit of paint down it is a great moment.
Sometimes I find I have been holding my breath when I am doing detailed work and I don't even realize it until the paint is on the canvas and I am breathing again.

When you are thinking about having a custom portrait done of your pet you will want to have a good look at the work of the different artists whose work you admire.
Each artist has a unique approach to creating art, they have their own style.

When you are choosing images to use for references you need to get a good selection of your pet in a variety of shots that really tell about the pet. Copyright photography is not something that can be "copied" and you are not going to have a copy of a photo from an artist if they can help it!
You hope to have a truly original version of the artist's style and how they translate the images into original and new art.

Art is more than itself. It is personal. What really helps make a portrait a success for the artist and the pet owner is to have excellent references of eyes and consistant coloring of the animal.
Also important, at least for this artist, a description of the pet's personality...a few words about what makes that particular pet themselves. It helps bring life to pictures, it gives clues to help capture them in paint.

Another aspect of painting that goes on behind the scenes is the continual adjustments that happen while you are doing the work...you are always reevaluating and making decisions as you go ...then the crucial one of when you have done all you can with a piece and it is time to stop.

For yourself or as a gift for a fellow animals lover, a portrait is wonderfully personal.
As an artist painting portraits it is an edgy thing wanting to really hit the mark making this vision real and intimate for that pets's owner.

The final step is when the pet's person looks at the work and reacts...your aim and hope is they see their beloved pet in the paint you have laid down and arranged and can have a lasting piece of original art that will forever help hold the pet in their hearts in a happy way.

Visit the Art Helping Animals ART BLOG for new work posted daily by the artists!


Tinker said...

This is a wonderful article and should be read by all. working as a pet portrait artist, I sometimes have to work from one photo of a long gone pet and it taxes the brain to get the color, features and personality to the point where the recepient can say "That's my dog/cat/ whatever, without just copying the photo.
This needs to go in every art class!

V. Bridges Hoyt said...

It is so true ... painting a pet portrait (or a human portrait) is much more than copying or reproducing a photo. A good portrait will speak. When I paint, I find myself getting into a zone where the brush seems guided by some power other than me. For me, painting portraits is a spiritual experience.