28 November 2011

Eli is here...

Here is the completed painting of Linda Sue Anderson's dog, Eli, who recently passed away.

You would think that making this painting would be simple, but it wasn't. The image above represents my 3rd attempt at this painting. I was going to post the other two incomplete paintings, but to be quite honest... I'm too embarrassed. They were not good. At all.

Linda asked me to paint Eli at the back door, waiting for her to come home. I did a small ink drawing which I posted here months ago and it turned out well. It was charming and simple. Unfortunatley, when I moved forward to make the full painting something went wrong. I wanted to add too many details and it became grotesquely literal. I felt that I had to make a specific room and an obvious door. Since I'm working in such a small scale, the dog had to be tiny. It's miniture face gave no room to convey emotion. The original painting accidently became an alert dog standing in front of a door in someones kitchen. (For whatever reason I imaged the backdoor to be in the kitchen).  Eli looked like a guard dog, not an loving pet waiting for the arrival his owner.I also tried to use "kitchen colors" for the room which were just distracting and nausiating in this context.

A week ago, I came back to this deciding to use only the picture of Eli that Linda had sent me (though I made him look younger. That's always a compiment, even to dogs.). It was just his face. I painted it with an ambiguous background so there would be no distractions. I then added a very thin white coating of  acylic and matte medium over the top to make the image softer and to make it feel more like a memory. The blue wash on the left suggests the door or a passage to somewhere else.

I hope you like this Linda! Thank You!

-John

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