Saturday, February 21, 2009

Capturing Personality - Golden Retriever Portrait

I was chatting with a prospective client today and one of the things I mentioned was that I NEED to know something about their dog when I am drawing or painting him/her. That's because while photos can capture color, fur patterns, etc., personality usually doesn't come through.

I've done a LOT of goldens, so many, that I only have a few samples on my site, otherwise it would be almost all goldens!

Some are ladylike and polite. Friendly and goofy. Friendly and curious. Shy and quiet. Mischievous. Relaxed. Observant and reactive.

This guy is more the confident, leader of the pack kind of guy. And he is lucky enough to have other dogs in the house with him!

When I know their personality, somehow, it translates onto the paper or canvas. I will study their faces and look for those clues. I honestly feel like I know them when I'm finished drawing or painting them!

I've met some of my subjects, and it's funny, but they are always affectionate to me, it's like they know that I know all about them! Crazy huh? But not if you love dogs, they have an uncanny sense of humans. It's funny to me to see distinctive little whorls of hair that I captured on paper or canvas in real life, along with those eyes, each one is unique and SO expressive!

I love doing commissions, but I hate to see them go to their new homes. I feel like I'm losing a friend who has been looking at me and communicating with me while I draw or paint them!

My pet portrait website is: and if you've found this particular post and want to see my whole blog, just click on the banner at the top of the page. Interested in my next post? Just click "followers" at the right. Thanks for sharing a few minutes of your day with me. I'd love to hear your comments about dogs and how they communicate..


Jennifer Rose said...

it is easier to get a piece of work to look like the subject when you know something about them, makes the connection between the paper, the subject and you a lot easier. If I can meet who I am drawing I always do, but sometimes its not possible :/

Unknown said...

Im sure it helps to get acquainted with your subjects, and once you've spent so many hours observing and painting it Im sure you get to know it even better! This is a lovely study, just beautiful.

Kathleen Coy said...

Hi Robin, love your work! Great blog, too! I know what you mean about wanting to know something about your commissioned subjects. It really does help. I also feel exactly the same about how hard it can be to send the finished painting on it's way...I feel like I miss having that dog around, lol.

Robin said...

Jen, yeah I RARELY meet them in person, have to rely on their "mom"s description, mostly. It's funny when I do meet them, though, it's often AFTER I'm done!

Sam, oh thanks! He was fun to do. I played with stylizing his fur, which was fun.

Kathleen, thanks for visiting and commenting...and the compliment! So encouraging to have other artists like your work!

Jade Scarlett said...

Hi Robin: Just came across your blog and I love your art. Your pet portraits are so beautiful and full of life and character!


Robin said...

Jade!! Thank you so much!!! Hope you visit often!