Don’t forget – there’s one more week to enter to win a FREE Pet Portrait! Winner will be chosen 1/31/15.
Last Fall, a fellow blogger – Jen at After the Altar – asked if there was any way I could paint a portrait of her dad’s doggy for Christmas. I was so excited that she asked since I painted her little pomeranian, Tinkerbell, 4 years ago.
I was not only behind in blogging, but also pet portraits and nearly everything else since August when I got sick then Mom got sick and, as I’ve mentioned, died in October.
So I was trying to be very, very careful not to make too many commitments. But when a ‘repeat customer’ asks, it’s hard for me to turn them down.
That’s how I built my mural business – word of mouth. There was no internet back then. It was simply by referrals.
I think Jen asked me to paint her dad’s dog before Reality set in that I really needed to kick into gear and turn Just Paint It into a full-fledged business, so that had no bearing on my taking on the commission.
I was just gonna find a way to get it done!
It took a few weeks to get “the” photo . . .
It’s hard to explain that, while the photos are adorable, I can’t see the detail I need to see to capture the dog’s eyes, nose and markings. Their personality!
This photo was not only the best for me to see what I needed, but it is also her dad’s favorite.
Might have something to do with the Philadelphia Eagles jersey, but I’m just guessing.
I told myself this was gonna have to be the fastest portrait I’d ever done. No tinkering on the nose for hours. No redoing the shading.
Just paint it!
I did a quick background of light greys with a smidgen of charcoal to match Lexi’s coloring.
Once the canvas had dried, I positioned the sketch and then slid the graphite paper in between and traced Lexi’s outline, eyes, nose, and the jersey.
Since I was in such a rush – as well as a mental muddle – I didn’t take step by step photos.
I usually rely a lot on the animal’s eyes to capture personality but Lexi’s are pretty hard to see with all of her hair. So the Eagles scarf and jersey had to add the fun.
Apparently it did because they were pleased with the portrait, which did arrive well before Christmas. Phew!
I think I painted Lexi in 2 days’ time. That’s a record for a commissioned piece.
I’ve been trying to do the same with my other commissions, but no, I’m still a bit obsessive over eyes and noses and coloring. I doubt I’ll ever change.
Oh, I’ll probably get faster as I do more and more pet portraits. (Have you entered to win a free one yet?) But taking care and paying attention to detail? That’s just who I am.
Next year I’ll start much earlier and offer gift certificates for Christmas pet portraits. That’s assuming all goes as planned with the new business. And it is moving and I am hiring people to take over some of the computer tasks that absorb so much time and take away from painting and teaching.
I’m trying to be patient and build a solid foundation for the business, but it ain’t easy. I want it all in place NOW! But more than that, I want it done right. So bear with me while you see the blog go thru design changes, for there will be some here and there.
The main thing is, I’m painting more and more each day, getting a caught up little by little, and looking forward to what the business will offer people who like my art or want to learn to paint.
I’d say we’re off to a good start.