Monday, August 16, 2010
How make your pet portrait come alive
Follow my progress here
Sometimes I'm asked how do you paint like that? Can you give me tips?
Sure I can give you tips. First of all, I say anyone can paint, and that sometimes upsets other painters.
But, I do believe that anyone with the desire to look, focus and practice can make paintings come alive.
It is not so much learning how to apply paint with the right mix of water or colors, the tricky part is
learning to have the eye of an artist. I don't have training, and have not been painting pet portraits for a very long time, but I do have the eye of an artist. My eyes focus on the lights shadows of everything I see, while I'm in nature or looking at an animal. I also study the eyes of professional painters works and try to figure out what I like and how I can apply similar technique to my eyes.
Basic things -
Light comes forward
There will be a shadow under the top lid
the corners will be darker
The pupil won't be always a perfect circle
If you add a little light to the pupil, it will appear that the light is floating -making the eye
look more round.
Some people try to paint exactly what they see in the photo.
I try to paint the soul of the animal - I don't paint exactly what I see for reflections in the eye
because that is just a moment in time, not the true eye of the pet. Example: this dog
has a car reflected in the right eye, but I don't want to paint a car in the eye! - I want you
to see into the eye and not have distractions.
Yes, it is cool to do a eye study and paint what you see - but for me, in a pet portrait, this is not
what makes it good. What makes it good, is having the animal appear to be looking at you.
Here is a great tutorial on how to paint eyes
How to paint a realistic eye