After doing a photo shoot with a new dog, it sometimes takes me days of scrutinizing photos, zooming and cropping and trying to reframe images through a new angle. And sometimes, I know as soon as I take the picture. I can be out with the subject for an hour and then, the 48th click of the camera reveals an image that goes *ding ding ding* and I go home to work with it, a little. That was pretty much the case with this shoot.
This is a complete departure from the style with which I normally paint – and which drew this client to me, in the first place. I hate painting heads and shoulders centered on the canvas. How boring.
This client is an artist’s dream in that she said to me after the photo shoot “Surprise me. I trust your vision, so go with whatever image inspires you.” I emailed a picture to her of the painting on the easel. “I don’t know if I like this,” I said. She agreed that it was quite different from my usual composition, but agreed that it portrays the playful side of him.
I try to focus on painting expressions and sometimes that needs to encompass more of the dog than just the face. He is an animated dog, and after 45 minutes of squeaking toys and waving treats at him, I got mostly really handsome head shots. But this image of him with his legs stabilizing his young, athletic body and enthusiastic expression just couldn’t be ignored. I zoomed in to capture his facial expression. Meh. Zooming back out, the image of his whole stature conveyed something that a facial shot didn’t.
I will spend one more day going over the other pictures that I have of Loki, and return to the studio tomorrow to either start a new canvas or proceed with this. Sometimes, the process is as surprising to me as it is to anyone else.