Saint Bernard in an Oil Painting; Contemporary Art
Hercules in Portraiture. Well, his name is really “Herc”. This portrait painting was a labor of love. We adopted him 3 years ago from AZ Saint Bernard Rescue through Petfinder.com Great site of you don’t already know; you can adopt any breed, from pugs to golden retrievers – any age and truly, rescue dogs have a heart of gold. I don’t know if it’s because they’ve seen another side of life or what; but this is my 2nd and I will only take in companions that come from a rescue. My two cats are strays. Herc here is 1/2 Saint Bernard and 1/2 Great Pyrenees. Amazing temperment and lighter, he’s a 105 lb long hair that does NOT drool! St. Bernards can go well over 300 lbs…
This painting is a comfortable transition into a looser style playing with transparent and built up variations with the oil paint. I love building around the focal point of expression, so the thickest paint is the eye. Starting in from the background, which is a thin watery wash, I work my way in lightly with the paint. Studying animals, faces in general, you begin to see that while a lot of expression is in the eyes; brows – so much also lies in the mouth and with canines – the ears. Herc has a completely relaxed story here, and this is perfect because this is how he looks 99% of the time! His essence is caught in this moment. In the past, I’d be intimidated to do those teeth and gums, now I’ve learned to only paint what is visible in the portrait photo; the entire mouth of teeth and what’s on the other side doesn’t matter – and to try to force it only shows struggle. Have you seen that? Probably. It usually reveals itself when you can look at a piece and it may appear perfect, but something is “off” and it may be hard to spot. It can either be woven thru the whole picture or in a specific area. My old pencil drawings reveal such. The best art will look effortless; it won’t look like work at all.
As a portrait painter, when building a background, I always work in complements for colors, and with the beautiful rust browns on his mask markings, I opted for the warm turquoise blues – cooler tones also push the background back, warm tones keep him forward, closest to us. A painting is only “done” when it’s alive and speaks to us. That’s the very least I can do and give some credit to the Master Artist, God who created such beautiful companions. I paint all commissions, I prefer to photograph the subject when possible but I do work from good quality photos clients can provide. They start at 10″ x 10″ for $600 and go up as large as you like. “Hercules” here is 20″ x16″ @ $1,500 Enjoy and have a great day full of warm smiles.