MARCIA WILSON's DOG PORTRAITS
It is October 2007, time to add NEW dog portraits to this page. This dog is named SHAMROCK because he was born on St Patrick's day. He lives in Palisades Park, NJ. This painting is size 8x10 and is in oil. I painted it from a photograph by his owner.
Same dog, second portrait of Shamrock, this one size 9x12 inches, done all in oil in October 2007. I painted on top of an old oil painting by my grandson, and his painting was bright yellow with a grey part at the bottom. See how the yellow shines thru on top, and the grey on the bottom? The pink was painted last. I "drew" thru the wet paint with a pencil and that removed the paint like a stylus, so i got some nice effects. You know artists make up the "rules" as they go along, and I'm always in favor of that. This painting was sold to shamrock's uncle who lives on park avenue in new york city.
I painted this little 8x10 painting from a photograph I took in September 2005 in New York City. I love to photograph dogs that walk by my booth at an art show, and my favorite kind of photo is a dog with a big nose pressed right up to the camera. Too bad I only got one eye in the photo. Nevertheless, I used this photo to copy when teaching dog painting at the Newark Museum earlier this year. I started this painting in acrylic, and finished it in oil. Having one eye gives it an abstract composition that i like.
This is an 11x14 oil painting, made from a photograph supplied by a neighbor who insisted I use only that to paint his beloved golden retriever. I emailed him a photo of the painting when it was half finished (big mistake) and from that he decided that although the painting has the look of his dog, his "friends and family" say it does not have the "feeling" of his dog. sigh. I can't please everybody, but since I took no deposit it cost the owner nothing.
Meet Ivan, the black german shepherd rescue from Saddle River, NJ. He passed away on a Monday and I started this portrait the following week, using the last photograph ever taken of him. I enjoyed painting this very much and hope his spirit comes through. I stopped painting this when I felt it looked good. I want my portraits to be more than photographs. I want them to be art that can interest even people who do not know the dog, that can interest people 100 years from now when I too am gone.
Ruby Ann is a shaggy black dog who lives in Chadds Ford, Pa. Her owner supplied a delicious photograph of her dog swimming, and I made this 11x14" painting from it. I started in acrylics, and finished the painting in oils. I will mail it out tomorrow (October, 2007), and hope she likes it.
It is December 2006 and time I added some NEW dog portraits. I painted this pug in acrylic, then oil, on a small 8x10 canvas, using my 2005 photo of a dog at a Frederic Md art show as reference. I used to own pugs. Adorable dogs with the most loving yet fearless personalities, great with children. They had to be fabulous or I never would have kept them because they peed on the rug (sigh). My current dogs (a jindo and jindo chow mix) would never dream of doing such a thing, but then nobody is perfect.
This is a portrait of Neutron, an english setter who lives in France. His owner commissioned a portrait which I made and delivered, but later I decided to paint a second portrait, from a different photo (also provided by the owner.) This 9x12 oil painting is painted over a canvas that my grandson made a year or so ago. If you would like to see five stages of the creation of this, go back to my home page, then click on my BLOG page, where you should find it on the entry of November 30, 2005.
Here is another English setter portrait, this one of Bailey, who lives in New York City and also at a country home someplace near Pennsylvania. Bailey belongs to a painter friend of mine and I love to paint his dogs. English setters are so beautiful and so expressive. this painting is very small, size 8x10. I am not allowed to sell from this type of website but you can email me for prices and availability. I usually price 8x10 dog portraits at $250.
Cosmos is the name of this bulldog. He and his owner sit in front of Dean & Deluca in NYC, which is where I took the photograph from which I painted this 8x10 acrylic, then oil painting. This means I started in acrylic, and went over many parts in oil paint. You can paint oil over acrylic, but not the reverse.
This lovely golden retriever belongs to somebody who lives near Park Avenue at 38th Street, NYC, where I photographed him in spring 2006. The painting is acrylic, then oil, size 8x10. I used to own a golden retriever. What a personality! What love!
My daughter's significant other had a white pit bull named Kitty, who was my favorite model for dog portraits, but (alas) she died in 2006 at age 13, after a long and happy life in San Francisco. Kitty has been replaced by a new adoptee from the local pound, a new white pit bull named Kazoo. Kazoo is not allowed to pose in the crown that belonged to Kitty, so my daughter posed her in a Chinese princess headdress. I made this 11x14 painting from a cell phone photo sent by my daughter from California. This size dog portrait generally sells for $375.
Here is Kazoo, happily nestled in the tattooed arm of her owner, musician Paul Casteel. The painting is size 11x14, oil over acrylic, painted in fall 2006.
This very small painting (8x10 inches) is a portrait of Merlin, a dalmation who lived a very long life, his owner said, because he knew heaven could not be any better than what he had here on earth. This portrait was a surprise birthday present from a man to his wife in March 2006. He said she was moved to tears by its resemblance to her beloved dog. I started this painting in acrylics, then went over parts of it in oil.
I start in acrylic because I usually begin these dog portraits at the recreation center in Leonia NJ, where I live. Art classes for adults are very inexpensive and I always sign up because I love to paint around a large table, yakking it up with my friends and neighbors. Oils are not allowed in the painting room because people are afraid of fumes. So I learned to start with acrylics, which works very well. Then I go home and work over them in oils, which gives more subtle, rich tones, and can really snap out the darks.
My boyfriend calls this "dog finds God." I took a photograph of an English Setter in New York City back in 2005 and decided to paint it in March 2006. It is 11x14 inches and needs work. When it is finished, it should be nice. I am still thinking about what to do with the sky. A really nice cloud formation and interesting sky colors could be nice. It hangs on my kitchen wall where I just think about it subconsciously until the answer of what to do pops into my head.
This painting was not a commission; I just did it for my own amusement.
My daughter Becky takes the best photographs with her cell phone. I asked how she gets photographs that make me want to paint them. "I know you like nostrils," she says. This is her little dachshund, Rasta, who was rescued by my other daughter, Diana, from a dog shelter in Hawaii. He was going to be put down because he was extremely ill, with a huge abscess on his head. Becky's vet in California treated the dog for over a year with special antibiotics because it turned out he had e coli in his lungs! I can tell you that he is a very happy and healthy camper now, hanging out with his best buddies, two pit bulls and a husky mix.
Rasta's portrait is 8x10, acrylic on canvas.
Kitty, a 12 year old white pit bull, is one of Rasta's good friends. Becky photographed Kitty on her flowered bedspread and I could not resist painting her. Kitty loves wearing her orange jacket because she is old and gets cold easily. (Being 69 myself, I can relate to that.) This portrait is 11x14 inches, acrylic with oil paint on top, in certain places like the eyes, nose and pink flowers.
April 2006, I got an honorable mention for this painting at the Old Church School of Art in Demarest, NJ. I had started it at the Leonia Rec Center art class, but worked on it in Carol Stronghilos' class at the Old Church, so I entered it in their show. I will take art classes until i die because I love painting in a room with company, and I love having a schedule. Left to my own devices, I would never paint as much as I do. I need art shows and lessons to get myself going. Plus, you never know what you can learn at art classes. (Just don't take the teachers too seriously.) Back to the prize, I call honorable mentions horrible mentions, because they never have any money involved. Still, it's nice to get a little recognition every once in a while, and Kitty is one of my favorite paintings hanging on the kitchen wall of my home. My boyfriend calls it "rogues gallery."
I photographed Baily, a dapple English Setter, in New York City in 2005. This tiny (8x10") acrylic on canvas reminds me of an English actress, but I can't remember her name. I am not finished with this painting. I will probably work on it in oils and see what happens. When I paint, I put my mind to rest and let my fingers do the painting. Some guy interviewed me for Leonia Life, a little newspaper, and he misquoted me. I remember telling him what I just said and he cut me off in mid sentence. I thought nothing of it until i read the article. He quoted me as saying "I put my mind to it..." which is the OPPOSITE of what I do. It wasn't worth complaining about, because I think people don't care about my opinions, but still, I think about that quote and hope it does not live after me when I'm dead because nothing could be father from the truth. I think LESS, not more, when I'm painting. Thinking gets in my way and makes me frightfully self conscious. In my humble opinion, thinking can be paralyzing to an artist.
Sammy is a little Maltese who makes his owner very very happy. She takes him to work and he sleeps in front of her computer. What could be better. I painted this little 8x10 acrylic/oil on canvas in March 2006.
This yawning English setter is painted from a photograph I took in New York City in 2005. What can I say. Some dogs fascinate me and this is one of them. I am not finished with the portrait. It is in acrylics now but I will go over it in oils. Size 9x12 on canvas. It was not a commission. My favorite paintings are just done for myself.
I painted this in June 2005, a very sweet maltese named Krystle Starr. This portrait was commissioned in her memory, from a photograph of her when she was 18 years old, and not feeling so well, but cheerful and loving just the same.
I painted a "blue heeler" dog named "Tater" in September 2005, using as reference a photograph taken by his owner on the beach in California. This painting is 18x24 inches, oil on canvas.
I photographed this dog while sitting in an art show in New York City in October, 2005. The next day I made a 12x16 oil painting on canvas of the dog, also while sitting at my booth. The third day, a man walked by and announced, "THAT'S MY DOG," pointing to the painting. It WAS his dog, an english setter named Bailey, but HOW could he recognize him from this painting? He and his wife bought it, and I took some photos of their second dog while they were at my booth. (ssssssssh. don't tell.)
"Chrissy" is a spaniel who lived many years ago but her owner had me paint this 12x16 oil on canvas in her memory.
Here are three little (8x10") oils of an 11 yr old white pit bull named Kitty who belongs to a friend of my daughter in Oakland, California. My daughter emails me cell phone photos that are too enticing to resist. Here is Kitty asleep on the bed.
I painted these in September, 2005, just for fun. Here is kitty wearing a crown my daughter bought at a garage sale. Some dogs are very good at wearing costumes. Btw, I dont think this painting is finished...
Here my daughter took a photo with her phone while holding Kitty's head. It makes her look like she has a biggggg nose.
Here is a pug portrait, finished May 23, 2005. He is a lovely pug named Toby. He lives in Hercules, Ca. It started out in acrylics, ended up being oils over the acrylics, on canvas, size 11x14 inches. I used three photographs to make this painting. Toby's mother emailed them to me.
When I do a dog portrait, all I ask is a number of photos where the dog is looking at the camera, preferably without flash. I like to look at the dog while I paint so I can undersand his spirit.
In March, I finished a posthumus portrait of Mr Snookums, a poodle/maltese mix. This is acrylic/oil on canvas, 11x14 inches. Mr. Snookums is remembered with great fondness in Washington State where he had a long and happy life.
I seem to be able to complete a dog portrait every two months. This one was finished in January 2005. It features Squish, a French Bulldog who tries to rule the roost in Tenafly, N.J.
I painted "Tank" the french bull dog in January, 2005. He lives with a family in Tenafly, New Jersey. He is a rescue dog, and he works as a therapy dog visiting local hospitals.
I started this portrait in acrylics, then finished it in oil. It is 11x14 inches. I got the idea of painting dog portraits from art classes at the Leonia Recreation Center, in the town where I live. The classes are very inexpensive, only $40 for about 12 classes, with all materials provided. Most of the students copy photographs on 11x14 canvases.
Now my idea of a good time is to paint with a group of people, especially people who live in my neighborhood, so I get to hear all the local news. I started bringing in photographs but I found that my ancester photos were too complicated to fit on a small canvas, but a dog's head is just about right.
So I bring in a photo and an easel and start painting at 12:30 when the class begins and by 2:30 pm when the class is over I usually have a good beginning. I sit in the corner by the window, where the light is good. I will show you some photos I took showing this portrait in its early stages.
Here is my beginning of my portrait of "Tank" the french bulldog. I used a yellow ochre color to block in my composition. Some people sketch first in pencil but I prefer paint.
My portrait is a little farther along in this photo. I spent about a week working over the canvas in oils, over the acrylic paints, until I was satisfied with the result.
Here is another French Bull Dog, whose name is Gremmy, short for Gremlin. Gremmy was another dog, rescued from a "rabbit cage" where she lived in a puppy mill, having six litters before she was abandoned and adopted by a family in Tenafly, NJ.
This painting is all acrylic, no oil. I painted it in two sessions at the Leonia Rec Center art classes.
I used a photograph that was sent me by the owners, taken the day they adopted this little dog. I used a lot of red in my beginning sketch because I had squeezed too much out of the tube and wanted to use it up. I don't think much when I'm starting out. I just like to get the composition squared away, in a very free manner.
Stage two, Gremmy is looking a little more recognizable. I am using straight acrylic paints and water on a stretched canvas. It is really fun to paint dogs. Each one has such a wonderful personality. My favorite photographs are where the dog is looking at the camera, but this is an exception.
KrystleStarr is the name of this sweet little Maltese. I am painting her from a group of photographs sent me from Washington State where she spent 18 happy years with her owners. It is size 12x16 and is not finished yet. I am working on this portrait in oils, at home in my kitchen, next to the window overlooking the backyard. There is nothing like natural light when it comes to painting.
Btw, please don't use any of these photographs without receiving my permission in writing; they are copyrighted by me, marcia sandmeyer wilson, 2005, Leonia NJ.
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