The way a portrait makes you feel is every bit as important as how it looks. This is key to a successful commission, capturing the personalities of my subjects and evoking emotions in my drawings.
Lula (left) and Bonnie are two very different dogs, and you see that in their portraits – Lula is majestic and Bonnie is gregarious. When I was approached by my client he referenced an earlier portrait I drew, Koda, as that was his inspiration for his commission. He wanted the portraits of Lula and Bonnie to feel like Koda’s, with that same attention to detail and almost sculptural feel to every curl.
We spent a long time discussing his dogs, their natures and quirks, and viewing photographs of them both. Many of the images he shared were family snapshots of Lula and Bonnie just living their best lives. Not pictures I could work from directly as an artist, but character references which allowed me to feel as if I knew them. This process was so helpful in informing my work, and as a collaboration between myself and the family, we knew that the decisions made were well informed and considered. The portraits were to be gifted to the client’s wife, and they took on extra significance as Lula had recently passed away and Bonnie was undergoing treatment for a serious health condition. Our dogs are our family, and their importance cannot be understated.
The words of Lula and Bonnie’s human beautifully convey what this most thoughtful gift means to her:
‘A HUGE thank you for the most beautiful portraits that you did of Lula and Bonnie…They really are wonderful and particularly with Lula you have captured so much of her personality and what made her such a beautiful, constant and faithful friend…the one of Bonnie too definitely captures her mischievous and cheeky side and what makes Bonnie Bonnie!!. What an incredible skill you have and how precious these are to us all. As soon as they are framed they will take pride of place on my study wall and will always be such a special reminder of how precious our two pups have been.