Friday, November 27, 2009

Wide open spaces and a commission's progress

What Remains, 24 x 24, acrylic on deep cradle panel

Finally found some time to get back to a larger painting. I'd photographed this pine a while back with the intention of painting it just as was in reality, i.e., with its full quota of needles. I loved how its asymmetric branches reached to either side and up and away. As I began to fill in the needles, I realized it made more of the statement I had in mind as is, with just a crown remaining.

It's symbolic of the struggle against all odds: timbering, old age, pine beetles, and extreme weather. This will be part of my "Branching Out" show in January. It's a little out of focus, as I photographed it in the house with only incandescent light, so I'll replace this shot with a better one tomorrow.

Portrait of Sassy and Katie, 36 x 48, acrylic on canvas.

This commission for a portrait of two dogs is a large canvas - 36 x 48 - to go into a big timber frame home. I've still a ways to go on the shadows and highlights and both dogs' feet, but it often helps me to be more objective when I post things online. I'd love to hear any feedback or responses anyone has. For one thing, I'm wondering if the post on the upper left needs more softening? Wha'd'ya think?


Roy said...

A commission! Great! And I like your treatment of the pine.

Paul said...

I think they are fantastic. The tree is very majestic and the expression on the dogs faces alive and alert and curious in a most dog-like way.

tipota said...

what a wonderful painting. something very timeless in the feeling (JS sargent comes to mind for some reason-the feeling of pause perhaps and space)
very interesting question though about the post. i am a painter too so i will tell you what i see/saw tho it might not b what u r after.
i seem to want the post not be b softened but to break through the border at the top, where the shadowed plane is and then be softened out on the left side in the light?
i am thinking of the way a sneaky shift in perspective causes a tension
that does not need to be regular but has an interesting effect of crystalizing the vision unawares so the 'truth' comes out even if it is not recognized
ie it speaks clearly in every language

Patrice said...

Roy - thank you - and yes, commission work has been difficult to come by - I appreciate each!

Paul - Dog like - yes. They really were good subjects - though the Jack Russell was not too keen on posing - had to have two photo sessions to get the shots which were then "appliqued" for this composition.

tipota - I appreciate very much your taking time to comment in detail!
What appears to be a border here is,in fact, just the background behind the painting. I didn't crop the shot down to just the painting. So the posts do actually go right off the canvas.

That said, I agree with your thoughts about the light on that post. I, too, look for tension in a composition - I'm more concerned with what works than with what is technically correct in terms of the physical world. So even though the shadow is that deep in "reality", in my reality it shall be softened...

Thank you so much. I'm going back to your blog to look for paintings...

DJ said...

Patrice, It's been a while since I've painted an animal, so take this observation with a grain of salt. I'll qualify it with the realization that the customer/you as artist may desire the stark impact of the geometric lines framing the organic dogs in the foreground. My own eyes keep searching for an additional organic shape/line to soften the foreground and relate it to the organic background. A vine, leaf...a small dog-toy or ball...Just a thought. I'm thinking the customer will love it as it is, though, with nothing to detract from their babies. :-)
The rendering of the dogs is simply beautiful; I'm impressed with your versatility and skill as always.
The pine tree is breath-taking and very well composed. I'm so glad you saw the statement before adding the greenery. Great eyes, girlfriend...

Patrice said...

DJ - I do like your suggestion. The Jack Russell's favorite toy is (ahem) a tape measure...

The Shepherd is now elderly - not sure if she has any favorite things other than a soft bed on the couch.

I'm going to play with your idea.

And I cropped the photo so that the confusing stuff behind the painting is gone.

Jeane said...

hi Patrice - your painting of the tree is wonderful - it's so strong - and in the commission piece?, I do think the pillar takes a bit of focus from the puppies :)

Patrice said...

Jeanne -

Thank you. I believe it's pretty clear that the pillar needs work or removal. I appreciate your input!

cohen labelle said...

Dear Patrice,

I love your dog painting. You obviously have an empathy and love of animals. You’ve not only captured their physicality, you’ve captured their soul, essence as well.
I also really love the composition - the little one in the foreground and the large black one in the middle ground. There is also excellent contrast in terms of size – small to large, white to black, and standing to half reclining. I feel as though I could reach in and stroke these animals.
Myself I have no problem with the way you’ve framed them because it separates the middle ground from the background, the inside from the outside. I think compositionally it's a winner!


Patrice said...

Thank you Marcia, I have great respect for your opinion. I've decided to show it to the client as is. (Except I will soften that left post.) One of the beauties of acrylics, is that one can add a component without any technical problems.

Should the client feel a toy or two is appropriate, I'll add accordingly. With commissioned pieces, I feel I can be flexible with small details!

Studio Sylvia said...

Love that tree, Patrice. It certainly makes a statement, standing so regally in its environment. Wishing you a wonderful 2010.