Featured pet portrait

Sheepdogs in Scotland

This time the stars of the featured pet blog post are 2 gorgeous sheepdogs by the names Ernie and Mac. Strictly speaking, they are working dogs rather than pet dogs. But they are loved and highly valued by their family. Madge and her husband breed and work these dogs on their farm in Scotland. And I believe they are quite successful at it too!

This commission painting was created by combining 3 different photos into 1 painting. While this is no problem, it makes matters a little more complicated. In an ideal world, the 2 dogs would be in the same picture so I can see the size of the dogs against each other. But the owners told me they were roughly the same size, so I could work with this information.

Working from multiple reference photos

When creating a painting from multiple reference photos, it can feel like working with puzzle pieces. You keep putting them together in different ways until you find a combination that works. For this painting, I came up with 15 different versions for the owners to choose from. Thank goodness for photoshop lol Luckily I had a lot of photos to chose from, so I could play with lots of different combinations. So first of all, I forwarded all 15 to the owners and let them choose the one they liked the most.

Then the real work started. When combining different photos, my first job is to make sure that all the shadows are showing the light coming from the same direction. After that, the colors may also need adjusting. For example, 2 black dogs can look very different if you take the photo of one of them on a sunny afternoon and the other one indoors under tungsten light bulbs! Luckily, there wasn’t such a huge issue with this painting. All photos were taking in the same place, on the same day.

The painting

I loved painting these 2 gorgeous sheepdogs. Their glossy fur really shows the care their owners take of them and their bright eyes made me understand that working sheepdogs are happy doing their jobs. The landscape behind them shows their home, the land they work on. It was a challenging painting but a very enjoyable one too. I learned a lot about sheepdogs and their owners. And if you get to do this and enjoy your craft, this got to be a great thing.