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
Available


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 www.carolerodrigue.com

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 carolerodrigue.com 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Trumpeter Swan Oil Painting


Trumpeter Swan
18 x 24 Oil, Carole Rodrigue ©2016
Available


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 www.carolerodrigue.com 


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.  :-)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Schecter Guitar Painting as a Tribute


I Am With You
10 x 20 Oil 
Carole Rodrigue ©2016
SOLD, Private commission



As an artist who does commission work, you sometimes get a very special request that touches you deeply.

I was honoured to be asked to paint this Schecter Diamond Series 7-string guitar.  It belonged to a young man that recently passed away, and his family wanted to have it in a painting as a memorial.  I'm told he loved to play it and that this represented who he was.

Painting this did put the pressure on because I so wanted to make sure it was what the wanted and I wanted to do right by the client.  I always do, but when you know the deep meaning behind a request, sometimes you just can't help but feel deeply for the client, such as was the case here.

Despite this being a sad occasion for a commission request, the family was very happy with the results, therefore I am beside myself with joy that I was able to do something for this family.  I hope that whenever they look at the painting, that they smile with pleasant memories of past events, perhaps a song he played, or a look he gave.  Memories are so unique and special.  I'm humbled that I was able to help bring a smile to the family.

This is a message that I had in my inbox after they'd received the painting:

"Thank you again Carole for the beautiful work. You did such an amazing job, my family just loves it so much. Such a beautiful way to remember his music, forever enshrined in your artwork."

And to them, I say thank you also.  Thank you for allowing me to do this special thing for you.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Boxer Portrait in Oil Completed!


Boo Boo, 8 x 10 Oil
Carole Rodrigue ©2016
Private Collection



This is Boo Boo.  Boo Boo is a very special Boxer.  She is four years old and is the beloved dog of a family with three children. My family. She is owned by my stepdaughter and family.   One of the children is a three year old toddler who has never known a day without his best buddy Boo Boo. Boo Boo has watched over him since the day he came home from the hospital and has been his loyal companion since.  There were times when he was a baby that I could swear they had their own language going on, that's how close they were.

My grandson would step all over her while he was learning to walk, and she would patiently lay there and kiss her baby.  Wherever he went, she followed.  She is the sweetest, most gently dog you could ever encounter.  She was a bouncing handful when she was a pup, but grew to be so loving and gentle, and very comical.

Sadly, Boo Boo had a tumour removed from her leg a couple of years ago.  She has done really well and was cancer free all this time, but recently got lymphoma.  Boo Boo is not expected to make it longer than another five months or so.  She is on chemo and is being kept very comfortable and pain free.  It's very heartbreaking to know she will be so missed by a family that has treated her as one of their own, like a furry human.  My grandson will miss her so much once she leaves.  He understands she is sick and will soon have to go, but none of us are looking forward to that day.

I decided to paint this before that time.  I felt it was better they have this before, this way it might be easier for them when they receive it.

It's never easy to lose a loved one, and our four-legged family members are just as well loved and important.  They leave a huge hole in our hearts when they leave us and each is unique and irreplaceable.

It wasn't my goal to make this be a depressing post, but I wanted to share just how special this pet portrait was, as they all are.

Thank you so much for looking and for reading.  I will be back tomorrow with another painting and another story.  It's the week for stories in my work.


In case you missed it . . .  watch me painting a Shih Tzu dog portrait in oil from start to finish. This time lapse video is condensed from over 8 hours of painting. Enjoy!






#petportraits #boxerdog #boxerpainting #dogpaintings