Portraits are tricky. There is a LOT of details to take into account when creating them. Most people don’t really take into consideration just how often we look at the faces of loved ones. Human and pet alike, we get complacent with the details because we see these faces so regularly and nothing profoundly changes. You don’t wake up one day and expect to see an eye 2 millimeters down from where it was previously. That detail doesn’t even register immediately actually, you just KNOW that something is off. You can’t explain it, and it takes a bit of studying in order to identify the change. Like in people, we have the same appreciation and expectation for pets. If the nose of your loving 4-legged friend is out of proportion or off from one side to the other a slight amount, the subtle deviation will register and it will cause you to pause while your brain searches for the contrast.
This is what makes me so hesitant to take on portrait commissions, particularly in a medium that I’m just starting to find comfort in. I’m not yet at the point that I can accept human portraits, but I decided to try my luck with a K-9.
Kipp reached out to me with a special request. He provided me with a few different pictures to source the inspiration from and see what would work best for burning. Because of the nature of this request and the challenge that it would present, I elected to source the canvass that I knew was burning friendly from a retailer instead of assembling my own. The landscapes that I had previously completed have been a challenge to burn into and I didn’t want to run into any surprises on a piece that carried so much weight.
I took my time and went lightly. Fur can be challenging to render. I decided to treat it in the same fashion that I would with a pen. One line at a time for each lock of fur. Very specific burning ends, at specific angles, with specific heat settings, for each area. It took some time and the end result seems to have been worth it.
I’m slowly learning that while it’s absolutely terrifying, stepping outside of your comfort zone can be a truly rewarding experience.
Toby is a good boy 🙂
(on a side, note.. I’m trying to get better at documenting my work from a progress standpoint and I’ve found that time-lapse videos are popular for that so I tried to do that here.. It’s missing a few chunks of progress, but it’s the best I’ve got right now. Enjoy!)