9 x 12 Oil on Gessobord
I’ve only done a few pet portraits in my life, mostly for family and friends but based on my Old Masters Animal Portraits I was asked by Art Center Sarasota if I’d teach a pet portrait workshop this year. Pet portraits are just sooooo not what I do!
Because of their unique expressions, fur texture, struggling to capture their likeness and all sorts of other challenges, pet portraits can be quite difficult to master – until you get used to painting them. But then they’re actually super fun!
Lucky for me the people who run Art Center Sarasota are the coolest so when I asked them to give me a couple weeks to play around with some pet portraits and see if I felt like I could wrangle a room full of beginners – all working on different animals, of which they dearly love – and they hope to get a likeness of by the end of a two HALF DAY workshops into something they are happy with. [Read: One Very Tough Assignment] They gave me the green light.
Now I may end up with some more advanced people in there but I wanted to work with a scenario of all beginners and would I be able to do it. I usually teach where we’re all working with the same reference or still life set up. So this will be um… fun. I mean fun! Actually I’m joking. I am sure it will. I just have my dad’s sarcastic sense of humor I have no doubts we’ll be able to do it. It’s a complicated subject for 2 days and it’ll be intense but I’ve got some contingencies in place.
We’re just going to make it fun and anyone that doesn’t finish is welcome to come to any of my local classes and sit in for free until they finish or email me pics of their progress and work at home until they finish. We’re not going to stress. You can’t learn or do good work under pressure. I’ve never believed you can absorb anything in a workshop if you’re too stressed so there’ll be none of that.
I’m working very hard to make sure they’re successful! Pet portraits can be dicey because people are emotionally attached to the subject matter. Painting an apple is different somehow. You can love apples but somehow we just love our pets on another level and it makes us more serious when we work on them I think.