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I'm a professional award winning Portrait artist from NSW Australia.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

The creation of the memorial portrait of Ted

 c 30 x 40cms image 
 Framed Oil
 Holly from West Australia had me create a pastel  portrait of her dog Bruno.

She'd lost her horse Ted a few years ago to old age . 
We have just created a memorial portrait of him in Oil.
We had a lovely photo of Ted from many years ago. It wasn't very clear so I had to use extra photos to help me with the shape of his eyes and other details.
He'd also just been clipped so he looked a golden colour which wasn't typical. He's more of a liver /darker chestnut. The only photos we had to show me his true colour were more recent when he was pretty old.

 Here is the nicest photo we had .It was taken many years ago.

 As you can see it doesn't enlarge sharply. I need to enlarge the photos so I can see enough detail to help me with eye shape , nostrils, head structure etc..

 I used the one below of an older Ted to help me with the detail and his colour.
I cropped it to just a head photo and it was still pretty sharp! 

The sketch. Holly asked for his mane to be out rather than plaited and his  noseband to be removed.

 Here is an early stage on my easel surrounded by all the photo I used to help. I even had photos of my own horse Zeuss who has a similar head structure to help.
Here I have done an underpainting wash in acrylic. I usually use the opposite colour to the end Oil colour but here I planned to use a different method and change the colour by several washes/ layers .
 As it turned out I didn't have the patience to wait for each layer to dry before adding the next! It takes several days for them to dry. As a result of this the portrait took a bit more fiddling at the end to give it the zap I wanted.
Here I have done the fun bits - his eyes and nose in Oil paint and started to build up the density of the darker areas with Oil washes.

 Below-  A bit more advanced.
I decided to do a bit of the planned background colour to see how he looked.I ended up modifying this to more of a blue as the painting progressed. I've also started to do his bridle. I like to understate the tack if possible as Ted is the star not his bridle!

I'm still adding Oil washes and he is gradually getting darker and more like the colour he should be. I've also added more detail to the bridle and the darker areas.

Below- I've added the background colour , done more of the bridle and added some interesting colour to the darker areas. About here I liked him but thought he was a bit dark and boring.
 I want my portraits to be as colourful as they can be and still look like your pet.

 Finally I'm happy! 
He is a lot more colourful but still 'reads ' as a darker chestnut horse.
I've added more details to his face and highlighted his bridle enough to add colour but not enough to distract from his eye and his expression which is the important part!
I've also modified the background to best enhance him.

Here he is framed again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rude awakening

I was in the middle of a dream this am and there's a bash bash on the window....( ???grr).
My partner says - 'Quick get your shoes and glasses on and come out..!"
I followed him into the bush on the property half awake - thinking grumble , grumble..this better be good or you're dead..( LOL"s)..We wandered around for 5 mins then - ' over there!'
An emu! I went all the way to SA to see some and here is one at our place! lol's.
They aren't native to the area but I'd heard a rumour about a year ago that there was one around ( a refugee from a wildlife place??) . That was one reason I had avoided trail riding Zeuss much in the bush.
I knew if he had seen it he'd do the spin and bolt off in the other direction ( which I can stick with) but then be a bundle of jittery nerves for ages ( freaks me out and I don't enjoy).
Hopefully he has met it and they are now great mates!
Cripes here I was riding around the property thinking we were safe..

Monday, April 6, 2015

The story behind the memorial portrait of Max the young Maine Coon cat

Sian's story -

Max was a rescue Coon that we got from a family in the Blue Mountains who had also rescued him as a stray but 2 people in that family were allergic to him. Would you believe I found him on Gumtree!?
He was quite paranoid about food when we first got him but soon realised he didn't have to worry about food anymore! He was also feline FIV positive but it didn't make any difference to us.
We noticed in March 2014 that he'd stopped eating and after investigation through SASH in Sydney he ended up having part of his stomach removed to remove a large tumour and was on chemo until Oct 2014.
We had to feed him through a feeding tube in his neck for a few weeks and he'd just sit close to Peter all day on one of the breakfast bar stools , occasionally resting his head on one of our knees.
We didn't leave him alone again after that. There was always someone with him. During this time Peter drove him to Sydney every 2 weeks for his checkups and treatment.
 He responded well to chemo and was in remission very quickly but unfortunately not long after it stopped the cancer came back with a vengeance. He went downhill pretty quickly in the end. How ever his oncologist at SASH said he was already a unique patient in that he survived the chemo and went into remission. He was also the first one of theirs that had survived so long into round 2 of cancer.
Unfortunately it's more aggressive when it comes back the second time and he finally passed away in the car somewhere near Lane Cove on 31st Dec as peter was rushing him down to the SASH again. We think he had a heart attack.
 He was a very affectionate boy and loved sitting in the kitchen on the bench when things were going on.
 He especially loved his roast chicken and every few weeks Peter would cook a few chickens for him, which we'd strip and portion up as his cat food. He would get a bit hysterical over roast chicken!
 He was especially Peter's boy and would follow him around everywhere. ( Sue - Peter told me he was more like a dog than a cat).
Tiggs was his great friend but at the end when he was deteriorating fast, Rosie spent a lot of time close by him.

Sue - Here is the portrait I created of Tiggs

Rosie's portrait-

All the staff at SASH loved him as we did. They were all so upset when he died. There were tears all round and at our local vets at Maitland.
We just didn't think to take photos of him in the last year as he was so sick and looked awful but he was still a lovely affectionate boy who loved his cuddles.

Sue - I'm going to create a great memory of Max for Peter and Sian.
I'm using one of the few clear photos we have to create his portrait.

Here is an early stage of the underpainting in acrylic.

I need to have the portrait laying flat when I do the first acrylic washes - otherwise it runs off as it dries. Once this stage is dry I can place it on my easel and paint the drier acrylic underpainting and then the Oil.

Here the underpainting is finished. I have since painted his eyes and mouth roughly in Oil. The nest stage will be to continue to paint Max - I'll do the darkest areas first then his lighter fur.
Once he is roughly done I'll work on the background and rug.