Thursday, 5 January 2012

Portrait of Lydia - A Special Commission


Today's post features a pastel creation of Lydia, a special commission to honour a beloved family pet who sadly passed away a few months ago.

This is the second time I've been asked to undertake a commission in memory of a much loved family pet. Emotionally, it is a fascinating experience.  Part of me is truly honoured to be asked to create an artwork honouring such a loved member of a family.  Part of me is terrified that I will muck it up and the final artwork will be a disappointment, both to myself and the client.

I've learnt through the process of completing commissions that it's very important to ensure the owner feels happy that the picture is an accurate reflection of "their dog" and their idiosyncrasies.  Sometimes a quirky little patch of fur, a twinkle in the eye, or a big thick tail can be the difference between being the owner feeling the artwork is a picture of "any dog" rather than a special picture of "their dog".

Lydia was quite tricky to create and there were a few times if I wondered whether I was going to be able to do her memory justice.  I had the added complication that this was the first time I've included the whole body of the dog, rather than a head and chest image which caused a few additional palpitations.   After a few rough drafts and a bumpy middle, in the end I was really pleased with how she turned out.  And more than a bit relieved.   Part of the success I believe, was the regular communication I had with her owner throughout the creative process to ensure she was depicted as they remembered her.

Her owner was also really pleased, thank goodness and Lydia now hangs proudly on their lounge-room wall. As a beginning artist I can tell you that it's a most satisfying outcome.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope to see you 'round again soon!


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