I have been creating Pet portraits since the 90's and as with any Artist, we all have to start somewhere meaning many of my earlier pieces are not of the same standards that I create now 20 years later. This is due to a collection of factors such as the obvious one, years of practice on my part but also largely because camera equipment is far more advanced and can now capture higher quality photos for use as reference images than ever before resulting in an high quality piece of Artwork at the end - however my Art has advanced beyond simply copying a photograph and the example seen above is one of these pieces.
Introducing Ern the Chocolate Labrador...
The photograph above right is such a beautiful capture I thought it would make the perfect reference image however I could tell straight away that his mouth was not closed completely resulting in a puffed mouth, the other factors were the over exposed and under exposed areas of his face due to the strong sunlight and finally the detail in the neck area had been lost in the shadows - for me to be able to create a portrait of Ern, I needed to even all these areas out, this was going to be a rather long process and included the use of around 15 different images, some of Ern himself and the others of Chocolate Labradors in the same type of stance found on the Internet - searching for these kind of images was not easy and it took a good few hours, a little editing but mostly imagination after extensive research. Deciding the final colour tones of Ern was not an easy one either as each photo I had of him all differed and he looked much darker after he had been in the water, so I chose to apply coppery undertones first and darken the finer fur as I went along to create a balance between the 2. The hardest part of Ern was making sure his mouth was anatomically correct after all this was going to be a surprise gift to his Dad and if anyone knew Ern the most it would be the owners. With a little help from our lovely Black Labrador Haze, posing in the garden (having bribed him a tad with treats) I could both study him in the flesh and take some images to pull detail from too. Over all the time spent on this portrait must have been around 25 hours, maybe more! The final portrait is shown above left and here is the feedback from the owners - I think I got it right in the end then!? ;)
Thank you so much for all the hard work and effort put in to make the numerous photos I bombarded you wish come to life! The portrait is just amazing, beautiful and captures Ern perfectly!
Karen M Berisford
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