Sunday, July 19, 2009

How Tara Creates A Custom Portrait Of Your Pet

Stage 1 - Getting to know your Cat and designing your painting

I begin every painting with lots of reference of my subject. Having a variety of pictures with different poses helps me see and understand all of your cats markings. These are pictures of Thomas. Thomas was one of my models for that stripy cat. I am now using him again to aid me with the colouring of the kitty in my current painting.

It can be challenging to capture those essential images. Sometimes setting up toys and baskets are the only solution. I am guilty of resorting to dumping a bunch of catnip on the floor to entice a camera shy cat. Stoned kitties can sit very still after the zing of catnip has worn off!

This is me holding Thomas. He is loving the hug and I managed to get a really great picture of his face too! The picture below is a little bury and over exposed but, his carmel belly is on display. This picture is very helpful.

After we have discussed what you have in mind and we have gathered a lovely bunch of reference shots I begin working. I will produce some loose sketches and we play around with some options.

Stage Two - Designing A Linear

This particular painting is based on some previous paintings I already have on display in my etsy shop, gingercatpress. In this case the design is straightforward. My client simply showed me what they loved in my shop.

Here are the two little paintings from my shop that this portrait is based on. The kitty on the left was painted on a 6.00 inch x 4.00 inch canvas board. The white cat was originally painted on tiny 5.00 inch x 3.50 inch cotton canvas.

They want lots of special details so it was decided that it would be a much larger original than these little examples. This Custom original will be 10.00 inches x 8.00 inches. I will be painting in acrylic on a stretched cotton canvas. My client loved the clouds and grass. We talked about adding some more fun elements that would add little spots of bright colour. I suggested dragonflies or butterflies. It was decided that the cat would be a taupe grey tabby surrounded by butterflies! Oh this will be so much fun to paint!

The Finished Linear
This is the finished linear. It is exactly 10 inches X 8 inches and a perfect visual map for me to refer back to while I start the under painting on the canvas. I will now sketch this drawing on to a canvas that has been painted in a neutral base colour.

Stage 3 - The finished Art

The painting is always a wee bit different. You may notice little subtle things. Sometimes the image will tighten up. A linear usually is very loose and free looking. This naturally occurs in all of my work.

The Under Painting
When I am creating a larger piece of art I will often do an under painting before I breakout the sexy colours. This allows me to work out all the light and dark areas. An under painting also gives a depth and richness to the surface colours. In this particular painting my under painting's palette has Payne's grey (deep rich blue grey), neutral gray, cerulean blue and a warm white. My scanner has captured the image pretty well. In life the painting looks more like a tinted black and white photo. Blue is difficult colour to reproduce on the screen!

The Finished Painting

Well there he is all finished. Now I will glaze this guy until he sparkles!

1 comment:

Maia said...

Oh my goodness, all those gorgeous cats! I discovered your work on Etsy - glad I found you. Cats are the best and I think your work is just gorgeous. :-)