Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Portrait Quandary

























Someone wanted to give a memorial piece for her friend. Her companion Bandit passed away and she had mentioned she always wanted a painting of him. This person asked for a photo of Bandit and the top image is what she got. When asked about any other images, she said the only other photo she had of Bandit was with him under her arm with his head facing the other way.

I immediately noticed Bandit didn't look too happy in the photo. I don't know about you but I wouldn't be too thrilled if my mom brought herself and another family member into your close quarters. I'm not an expert in animal body language but I worked enough with Animal Control officers when I the director for the local shelter to know that ears back isn't a happy dog.

So I asked if I could paint Bandit with ears propped up a bit. Since she has seen Bandit, I had her approve a little sketch to make sure it look okay before I painted it. I sent her the finished image today and she is very happy with the end result.

Anyone else deal with these sort of issues? How would you have dealt with it? Would you have just painted the image as it was?


8x10 oil on gessoboard




16 comments:

Krista Hasson said...

You did the right thing, sometimes it is up to the artist to make changes for the better, this is a wonderful painting and you captured him well

Michelle said...

A big Hello Sheila! OK, I just left a comment on this on FB...but have to say once again, bravo!

Gary Heller said...

Although i'm not a painter I would say that you absolutely did the right thing.
The photo was merely to get an idea of what he looked like, not to portray exactly the look and mood he was in at the time of that snap.
I think the owner would have wanted you to use the photo as a basis for your interpretation which you did quite well, and the end result was a happy client.
I think you did a great job capturing the eyes and overall look of Bandit as well as portraying him in a happier state of mind.
Really well done, Sheila.

Charlene Brown said...

This is really well done, Sheila -- and will be especially welcome as she apparently didn't have any happy pictures of Bandit.

David Larson Evans said...

Your changes to the little look great. I do most my changes in photo shop and then hit the canvas.

pencilportraits said...

Hi Sheila, sorry not to have visited for a while, in answer to your question, I'm afraid I really am unable to portray what I cannot see, if I had another photo with the ears as they wanted I may just about be able to merge the two but I have so little imagination and I try to show exactly what I'm shown. It just goes to show that different styles appeal to different people and little Bandit's 'new' ears make him look so much more happy

Edward Burton said...

You did the right thing - you have to use artistic license at times in order to create a better painting.
Great job , Sheila.

Mary Paquet said...

I absolutely agree with you, Sheila. Kudos for knowing dog body language!

Gary Keimig said...

great job Sheila. It came out with a lot of thought and heart.

Nina E J said...

Yeah, painting is about making something real your own. Good job!

suzanneberry said...

So glad to see you back. I am so sorry you had to deal with such unpleasantness. I hope all is well or on its way to being that way.

my biggest critic always tells me to use the photo as reference not law. it's just perfect! great work!

thank you for your kind works regarding the Challenge! so good to see your smiling face back! take good care. suz

Judy Mackey said...

I think you did the right thing, Sheila. It's a rememberance piece and you've made Bandit look happier - that's great. Wonderful painting.

Manon Doyle said...

Great job in making Bandit look happy!
I hope things are going well Sheila!!

Dana Cooper Fine Art said...

It's called 'artist license' Sheila, good job!

Carol Schiff Studio said...

Great job Shelia, you are so clever to have the ability to change the photo. Of course you did the right thing, no question there, the great part is having the talent to pull it off!

L.Holm said...

You really did improve his look. Great call.
I absolutely love the sketch, too. Your skill with line is amazing.
I've got a commission now that's a compilation of from multiple photos, and expression is the biggest problem for me. You've got this down.