Sunday, July 31, 2016

Commissioned Dog Painting in Oil #petportrait

8 x 10 Oil
Carole Rodrigue ©2016 
Private commission

A few weeks ago I received an email from someone asking me to paint their dog.  When she sent me the photo, I just fell in love with this dog's sweet face.  Her eyes express such a sweet and gentle disposition, as well as an innocent curiosity.  I've seen this look often in my own dog, so I know it well and it just melts my heart.

The pink bow on Gypsy also lends to the sweetness she displays.  

Painting this sweet dog was such a pleasure.  I thoroughly enjoyed painting this pet portrait and am so happy that I was able to make her owner very happy by capturing her beloved dog on canvas!

I hope you enjoyed this painting!

#dogpaintings #animalartist #ilovedogs #dogpaintings #dogart #petportraitcommissions #petportraitscanada #petportraitssudbury #ontario #sudbury #sudburyartists 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Very Special Portrait

14 x 18 Oil on linen
Private Commission

This painting was a very special commission and the second the family requested I paint.  The young man portrayed with his beautiful mother passed from cancer earlier this year.  The guitar I had painted was his.

I cannot express the emotional connection I felt to this young man the whole time I painted him.  I was even very sad to see the painting go, as though I was saying goodbye to an old friend I knew I'd never see again.  At the same time, I'm very humbled and honoured to have been asked to paint him and his mother in this special moment.

The title of this painting is "Always".  I had no idea what to call this painting.  As I was making the certificate of authenticity, I automatically typed Always without much thought.  After I saved the file, it was next to the file of the first painting I had created for the family, which was called, "I am with you."  It was definitely a goosebump moment as I had not planned this at all.

My hope his that this painting brings smiles and fond memories to the family.  Nothing can ever take away the pain of losing a loved one, but hopefully this brings some joy and comfort.

On an other note, I am working on a couple of wildlife pieces that I hope to share soon.  I hope you are all having a great day.  :-) 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Cat Portrait in Pastel

Mitsou,  8 x 8  Cat Portrait in Pastel 
© Carole Rodrigue 2016

This is  Mitsou, my cat.  She's been a subject of mine in the past and probably will be again.  She's such a photogenic creature, as well as a beautiful painting subject for a pet portrait.

I'm currently working on a few oil paintings, one of which is a giant private commission that unfortunately, I won't be able to share.  It's a large 36 x 46! It's not a pet portrait, but a person.  I'm also working on some smaller pieces, one of which is a mourning dove.  That one I can't wait to share!

In the meantime while paint is drying, I decided to play a little with pastels as part of my decision to have more fun with my art this year.  I'm also playing more with charcoal, graphite, as well as coloured pencils.  I've been so serious in these past years and it feels so liberating to just play again.  That's not to say that I won't be creating serious works because I will.  My hockey painting was a very serious piece for me and one that means a lot.  But playing is important too in order to not become stagnant and to keep feeling inspired.

Isn't that what art should be about?

So, expect more, a lot more.  I'm just warming up and starting to have fun.

Hope you enjoy this one!

P.S.  If you want a pastel pet portrait of your dog or cat, I can offer you an 8 x 8 for a mere $150 Canadian.  It's a perfect size for a head pose and pet portraits make great gifts! Mother's Day and Father's Day are approaching soon!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Vintage Hockey Painting

The Best Game You Can Name
18 x 24 oil on linen
©2016 Carole Rodrigue

Here's my latest still life painting, a sports piece with vintage hockey equipment.  I had been wanting to paint this and envisioned this for over a year and have finally been able to get the equipment together in order to paint this.  I'm very blessed to have such wonderful friends who were able to help!

This is available although I'm holding on to it for a while for a show.  If interested, you can visit my site at

I'm going to be painting more similar pieces in the future.  Although the most detailed and challenging piece I've painted to date, it's also been the most satisfying and I can't tell you just how much I've loved painting this.  I'm talking getting up each morning excited to be working on this! Isn't that how it should always be?

I hope you like this.  I'm off to paint some more, a nice bird actually as well as a very large private commission I won't be showing, but am thrilled to be working on.  And remember, I still paint pet portraits too!  

Monday, March 28, 2016

Husky Mix Pet Portrait in Oil

Tub, Husky Mix
8 x 10 Oil on Linen
Carole Rodrigue ©2016
SOLD, Private commission

Tub was a very beloved pet and mate to her owner for over 15 years.  She is passed now, and this painting was commissioned as a gift to the owner.  I'm told he was his sidekick and constant partner.
Painting this sweet girl was tricky but I pulled it off.  As often happens when pets are deceased and someone commissions a painting, there are sometimes not enough quality reference photos of the pet.  This was such a situation.  Here's the reference photo:

As you can see, the image is not very clear and is small so a lot of details are missing.  Also, it was taken from a strange angle, more underneath the dog.  I had to straighten the image first in order to get a better perspective.
I then started painting Tub with the shirt as in the reference since this was what the client had asked.  I knew before I started this wouldn't work, but I did it just to show how sometimes you can't stay true to a reference due to poor photo quality.

As you can see from the early stages of the painting, the t-shirt view as in the original photo just did not work.  The subject appeared to have a huge head and a tiny compact body with no neck.  Certain photo angles just do not work in a painting.  Photos can present all sorts of distortion issues and one has to deal with foreshortening and compensating for these oddities.  This is why an artist can never remain a slave to a photo.  An inexperienced artist might not recognize these issues or know how to deal with them.  I've seen countless paintings over the years where someone was a slave to a photo and copied it perfectly, only to have a painting that looked like a bad photo. Yep, that happens a lot.  
So, what did I do?  I had to add a neck, but not just any neck.  I needed Tub's neck! And fast because there was a deadline!  Luckily, the client was able to contact someone who rushed another bad photo, but at least I had a neck to work with now, Tub's neck.    Here's the other photo:

 Painting rescued and fixed!  With this photo, I was at least able to imagine Tub's neck and how it would be in the same light and angle I was painting.  Tub was blessed with wonderfully huge ears, but not a huge head.  The new composition worked so much better with a neck and straight ahead look.  The client is thrilled with how it turned out and that means that  am too.  That's the way it works: I'm not happy unless the client is.  :-)

So that's my tale from the studio for today.  I have new painting adventures and commissions awaiting.  I love my job.  I am blessed.  :-D 

If you would like information on getting your own commission, don't be shy and contact me.  Your information is confidential and you will not be placed on any list.  Just straight information. 

Relevant posts: 

This was originally posted here on 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Trumpeter Swan Oil Painting

Trumpeter Swan
18 x 24 Oil, Carole Rodrigue ©2016

In case you haven't noticed, I've been painting things other than still life lately.  Does this mean I'm done with still life? Absolutely not.

What this means is that I'm letting myself paint whatever it is I am inspired to paint at any different point in time.  I'm refusing to be boxed into a category, (i.e. She's a still life artist.)  I want to paint it all!

Years ago I used to paint mostly animals, from horses and pets, to wildlife.  It's only in the last few years that I had focused a lot on still life.  This was crucial to my learning journey and growth as an artist and I take it for what it is.

I'm now at a point in my life and career that I need to paint for the love of it alone, the passion, and I love painting animals and always have.  I will still paint still life too.  Animals will be incorporated into my still life paintings.  This is part of the natural progression of an artist's journey and I consider it coming full circle.  So, expect more animals, more still life, and more animals in still life.  Oh, and you might find the odd landscape.  ;-) Plein air painting is on the list too.  :-D

This Trumpeter Swan is one from a local bird sanctuary.  I've been a few times these past two months for reference materials and I'm so in love with these birds.  I returned again yesterday to catch shots in the fading sun.  I was not disappointed.  There will be many swans in my work in the future, so keep checking!

I'm also currently working on a squirrel, as well as starting a new crow painting, and a very special still life.  These will take a while, especially the still life.  I am having so much fun again working.  I get up excited and looking forward to being in the studio again.  I have to admit that for a while that spark had faded a little.  Not a lot, just a little, but enough to nudge me in the right direction, one that fuels my heart and artistic passions, and that's what we're supposed to do anyway.

I'm also taking this opportunity as a reminder that I am available for commissions, whether these be still life or pets, and yes people too!  I'm leaving you with a couple of extra photos and I'll be back later this week with my squirrel!

Kayla,  pet portrait of a Golden Labrador.  She was a sweet dog and is very missed by her family.  

Dante's Apache Dragon.  This beauty's painting is in Arizona.  He is one of the most beautiful horses I have ever painted, and his colour is striking, literally.  He has wonderfully unique markings, including a lightening bolt on his cheek.  Harry Potter anyone? 

To commission your painting, visit 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Dead Bird Oil Painting, A Darker Theme

Fragile, 8 x8 Oil, Carole Rodrigue ©2016 -Available
I had absolutely no plans to do this painting this week.  I hadn't thought about it for quite a while.

I had photographed this bird as a reference after it sadly crashed in my window last summer.  It was heartbreaking to find the little guy.  

This week, after I completed the Boxer painting, my plan was to work on a new piece featuring a crow.  For some strange reason, once I got in my studio to start the crow drawing and composition, I impulsively turned to references of my poor bird and immediately started working on it.

Later that night, I found out that well known bird artist Ajay Brainard had passed away from his battle with cancer.  Ajay painted the most wonderful paintings of dead birds, all of which were emotional and left you thinking and wondering.  Although we were friends on Facebook, we didn't actually know each other personally, but I've always been a big admirer of his work. Ajay was far too young to be taken by cancer and the art world will have a huge hole left in it.

While I was working on this, another artist friend who had won her battle with cancer, told me that she felt a strong connection with this piece.  It was personal to her and spoke to her.  After I completed the piece, she suggested I call it Fragile because it stirred memories of her battle, and that it would mean so much to her if I did.  I agreed.  My mother was also taken by cancer a few years ago, and my best friend recently lost her husband to cancer, shortly before Christmas.  I could really empathize.  

These are painful moments that connect people on some deep level that can't be explained.   Was there some sort of Jungian connection to Ajay's passing on this same day I started painting this? I don't know.  We only talked about art a few times on social media and I followed his art.  I really can't say I knew him.  I do believe, however, that we are all connected on some level.  I think similar experiences bring people together for unknown reasons.  My friend who survived cancer was immediately drawn to this painting for some unknown reason.  I've painted a lot of things, but this is the first time I've had this reaction to a piece.  Maybe it's the dark subject matter.  I don't know.  I did hesitate painting it for a long time because of the darkness it conveyed, even though countless realist and classical artists have painted dead birds and animals before.  I'm certainly not the first one.  Maybe this was just the right time for this painting.  

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  I am planning on that crow painting, and hopefully complete a swan piece I had started.  I promise it'll be lighter.  :-)