Monday, November 03, 2008
Today's painting is a memorial to a very pretty mare named Muffin. We lost Muffin this year, and I knew I was going to paint her sometime this fall, so today was the day.
Rather than dwell on the sadness associated with this little portrait, I'm going to talk about something most artists deal with at some time or another with commissioned work, as I actually inflicted it upon myself today! We are always, always telling clients about the importance of good photos from which to create a portrait - a portrait is usually only as good as the pictures we're given, and most of us prefer to take our own when possible. To let you in on a secret, most of us say time and again that we will not take a commission based on bad photos. Not only is it extremely difficult - as much as some might expand on the artistic mystique, we're really not magicians - but we worry that the finished product will not do the beloved animal justice. We want you to love your portrait, hang it on the wall in a prominent position, not, you know, in the outhouse or some place similar!
So...my story...Muffin spent a good deal of time at my place. She was such a beautiful mare, with a very pretty face. As you probably know, if you've been reading my blog for very long, I take a lot of photographs. For some reason, try as I might, I was never able to capture Muffin with a photograph. I thought about just using the one that I posted after she died, but it really didn't do her justice. The only one I had that was remotely close to what I wanted, her nose was cut off, and she was in winter coat. Each horse does have a different muzzle, so it's not like I could just look at a photo of another horse in the same position; and some horses' colouring changes a bit in the winter. At least I have the benefit of having known Muffin, so I had to rely on my memory. Of course, these photos were still much better than some I've had to work from before!
For this painting, I went back to gessoed masonite panel. I had actually toned it with some leftover paint from Saturday's painting, which I now know is a mistake! While the surface was dry, there was obviously enough oil in that paint that I was having trouble with today's paint adhering properly. Because of those issues, I will go back to this at some point for a few touch-ups. Of course I also realised I'd forgotten Muffin's snip and the tiny strip above it. I was so focused on getting the shape of her muzzle right, I missed those things! The size is 8 x 10, and once again I used the same limited palette.
Well, that's it for today. See you tomorrow!