I took some photos of my friend’s Jack Russell Terrier recently and decided that I’d do a pastel portrait of this little pooch gazing up at her owner. A different style of composition to my usual and fun to do. The portrait was a surprise gift and Pimm’s owners instantly recognised their little cutie… phew!
It’s interesting that you don’t always need to capture a pet’s face to strike a chord of familiarity to the owner, they’ll know them from any angle.
Unison pastels on Clairefontaine Pastelmat 12″ x 9″.
When I undertake a commission, I’m often sent photos that prove to be a bit of a challenge! In order to get the best result for a pet portrait, a good sharp image is really important and also if the person can get down to the dog or cat’s eye level, all the better. I usually kneel or even lie on the floor and wait for the animal to settle (following an investigative sniff or rub of the camera by the model!)
Three or four different poses (including a close-up of the head) are usually enough for me to see how the fur lies, the colour of the eyes and the contours of the animal’s head and body. Sleeping animals also make a lovely composition for a painting – and ensures a sharp, blur free image!
Here are a couple of examples of good photos which resulted in realistic portraits.