1. After initially talking with you about your upcoming pet portrait, photos will need to be gathered. If you live in the New York City area and are willing, I’d love to schedule a photoshoot and meet you and your pet. If not, I’ll need 3-6 well lit photos.
- Please do not use a flash as this flattens everything out.
- Photos taken outdoors or daylight coming in through a window works well.
- Try to take the photos from the animal’s eye-level or close to it.
- If sending digital photos electronically, make sure they have enough resolution so I’ll be able to print them out at least 4″ x 6″ in size.
Details such as the animal’s face, paws, or special collars or tags all help to inform the final piece.
2. Upon deciding which photos to use, I’ll start doing some quick sketches to come up with a suitable composition and proportion. Then I’ll do a more finished drawing to get your approval as to where I’m going with the final piece. I then transfer this drawing onto the final surface, be it canvas or paper mounted onto a panel.
3. After I decide on a composition, I tone the surface with a neutral color so I’m not working on white and can better judge color and value relationships. The next stage is creating the critical values that determine the feeling of the portrait where I decide on the lights and darks, and warm and cool colors. I then keep modifying these decisions once I have the entire surface painted in.
4. After the entire subject is layered in, I’ll go back in and refine certain areas or details that I really want to stand out and catch your eye. When the pet portrait is completed, I'll take a photo and e-mail it to you so you can get your first glimpse of the final piece.
5. A varnish coat is applied and then set aside to dry. Approximately a week later the finished piece is packed up and sent to its new home.
The process for my portrait drawings is very similar in approach.
The process for a portrait painting from the time I receive the reference photos typically takes 6 to 8 weeks. (3 to 4 weeks for a drawing.)