How does it work?
The reference photo is a very important part of the painting process. I prefer to take my own reference photo (all photos on this page are mine), but in special circumstances you may provide a photo I use.
This photo works well because Price is a black dog and the 3/4 view and sunlight show a lot of dimension and break up his black coloring.
In the finished painting, I was able to take some liberties with the reference photo by changing the background, removing his collar and lighting his fur a bit more to show added detail.
I do not trace or project the photographs for my reference photos, but rather choose to free-hand everything.
With Noah, I was looking for a photo that had soft, natural lighting to define his features as well as an interesting expression.
He was getting ready to hike with his family when this photo was taken. I love how he is looking up at the adults and is ready to go with his walking stick.
I kept the background plain with Noah and accentuated his eyes. I didn't want his shirt to distract too much from his face, so I slightly lightened the color and allowed the bottom of the painting to fade.
This is an 11" x 14" painting.
Laverne is another example where the background is not important for the painting. She had a wonderful expression with her ears raised and her mouth slightly open, showing off her under-bite.
For the painting I simplified the background, removed the collar and again directed attention to the eyes by including a lot of detail. I loosened my brush strokes as I moved further down the body to allow the viewer's attention to move back to the face.