The commission requests have been keeping me very busy this summer. It’s a great feeling to create something unique for someone, and I love that more and more people are coming to me to have their own piece of artwork.
The latest commission I completed was for a very special dog owner. The piece was a collection of her 5 dogs, past and present. Sheamus, Rio, Chispa, Amistad and Osito.
This blog post looks at the creation of the painting, and how it turned out.
First of all, I needed reference material. I collected as many photos as I could of each dog.
This task was easier said than done however, as the older dogs were alive several years ago, when the quality of images was much lower. In some cases, I didn't have a single digital photograph, and had to rely on copies of physical photos from albums.
I made use of multiple images of each dog, trying out different poses, angles etc. I was very thankful for some more recent pictures of the owner’s current dogs, as these were of a much higher quality (thank you technology!). It really sped things up when it came to adding in some detail.
So I had now collected as much reference material as I could, ready to start figuring out a composition.
For this piece, I wanted a composition that was clean and simple. Nothing ridiculous that would take away focus from the dogs themselves. I was also dealing with dogs of very different sizes in real life, so I didn’t want any issues with relative scaling (I’m sure the owner would find it very odd to see her little terrier the same height as her German Shepherd).
Another consideration was the poses that I placed the dogs in. I wanted a bit of variety so as not to end up with 5 dogs all sitting facing forward. I tried having the dogs all sat next to each other, but I was never happy with the result. The dogs are each a piece of history for the owner, with their own set of memories. Some lived together and interacted with each other, but to position them all in such an interactive way on papers didn’t feel right.
In the end, I chose to space out the dogs evenly across the canvas paper, and mix up the poses. Some are running, others are sitting, and then the middle dog is in a reclined position. I felt that this allowed for greater focus on each individual pooch, rather than only looking at them as a collective.
With a composition sketched out and some blocking of colours completed, I then moved onto adding in detail.
Adding detail to images the size of my palm was a dream! Lately, I’ve been used to adding detail to massive canvases, which for my style can take forever. I was able to make great progress in a short period of time, with areas such as the eyes and nose gaining more focus, as it’s often what our eyes are drawn to first.
The colours were never really a problem, as all the dogs were some amalgamation of black, white, grey or brown.
I contemplated adding shadows behind or beneath each dog, but I was already happy with the result and didn’t want to risk spoiling the piece at such a late stage. Cue the end result!
I was very pleased with how this piece turned out, as was the owner. It’s a lovely depiction of her cherished pets, and I’m glad I could create it for her.
Joseph Cashmore - ART JC
25th Feb 2023
2nd Jan 2023
13th Dec 2022
20th Nov 2022