Well, at first glance there’s not much difference between the second post on this portrait and this final version until you look a little closer at the details. At this final stage I add textures where necessary, even out the highlights and shadows, make sure the color palette hasn’t shifted and make sure all subjects are the right shape and proportion.
It’s surprising how easily these details can throw things off if I’m not careful. Up to the final passes for details, I was working over the entire portrait each time, mostly to work out the palette and settle the details of shape and proportion and keeping an overall vision for the portrait. Getting down to details focuses on one are or another and that’s when things move and change.
Here Peaches not only has patches of color, but she also has fur, divining her texture from the blanket. However, in working the highlight from her chin down her chest and adding the nice soft haze of white fur I managed to work the leading edge of her fur out too far and in the process added a few pounds of weight! Poor Peaches, she doesn’t need that sort of thing, but when I removed it I had also drawn over the hazy trees outside the window and had to redraw them.
I clarified the flowers to see each of the petals, and went back and forth with the shade of pink. I had originally used a brighter pink which was not accurate and was too bright for the painting, so I toned that down with a slightly browner pink. I also shifted the blanket from the original bright blue to more of a teal shade to coordinate with elements in the curtains, which would also be in the person’s room, and the blanket’s highlights are blended so it looks fuzzy and soft. The highlights on the vase had made it look very shiny though it wasn’t, and those extreme reflections were also a little harsh for the soft tone of this portrait, so they got toned down.
The most important detail, the sweetest part of the whole image, was Peaches’ face where she has it happily pressed into the flower, her eyes closed, the sunlight shining through the flower petals coloring her fur. That had to be perfect, not photographically so, but in spirit. I enjoyed working many other areas of this portrait, but capturing the gentle shadings and gentle details of her face, her chin and neck and her ear were my favorite part of this portrait.
It will be given as a gift a little before Christmas, and I’ve shipped the framed piece to my customer. I can’t wait to hear what she thinks, and then how her friend reacts. I’m always honored to be trusted with another’s gift, and so happy to be a part of its giving.
Read all the articles about this portrait: