Five times as one

Five times as one

As far as I’m concerned variety is the spice of life, so after spending almost two months working on painting and framing erotic art I am more than happy to switch my attentions to a totally different subject matter – of the four legged variety. Normally if I’m doing animal portraits I’d rather take the photos myself as I know what poses I want (taken from the animals eye level as much as possible rather than from standing human adult height which means you’re looking down on top of the animals head) and also getting the lighting right (natural daylight if possible so that the colours are natural and not bleached out by a camera flash) with the eyes looking intelligent with the right lighting (not red-eye with camera flash) and not taken too closely (otherwise the whole picture is out of focus so you can’t see details in the coat, face, eyes). All those are the reasons I like to take my own photos to work from.

But I can’t do that with this commission, for a very good reason. Sadly all of the animals are dead.

And like the owner said to me “You never think about taking the right sort of photos when you have the animals, you just take snaps when they’re out in the garden, or in the house, not thinking that you’ll need them at a later date, after they’ve died”. I agreed with her, it’s always the case with pet owners. And it’s after the animal is no longer with us that we miss them most and wish we’d taken more photos because we’d like a painting done to remind us of our beloved pets.

Which is where my job comes in.

The client was well organised when I went to her house yesterday and had sorted out the best of the photos of each animal. But they still weren’t of the quality I would have ideally wanted to work from. I will have to do the best I can with them though. But that isn’t my main problem with the painting she has commissioned me to paint for her. I am happy and confident that I will be able to make a decent attempt of the animals putting them in one watercolour painting, and that they will look as close as I can get them to look like the animals as I can see them. But, its not my opinion that matters. Because the client knows all those beloved animals intimately as she has loved them and cared for them and lived with them for many years on a daily basis.

I have to get the essence of the animal even though I haven’t seen the animal in real life. I have to capture that and put it in the painting. And I have to do it five times.

But, as well as that the main problem is the size of each animal. One is a German Shepherd, so that’s ok, I know its a large dog. One is a collie, ok that is a smaller dog to the German Shepherd, but there is another dog too which is a lot smaller, and two cats. But one cat is leggier than the other, and some cats are smallish and some are bigger and plumper.

But most importantlyI haven’t got all the animals together in ONE photo, to work from.

I have a selection of  about twenty photos, some of which feature two or three of the animals, but a variation each time, but usally taken from a distance of quite a few feet away. So I don’t know how the size of each animal relates to the size of the other animals.

That means that my thought process is going to be something along the lines of those lateral thinking quizzes working out what is known to find out what is unknown known …….. “In this photo The German Shepherd is six times bigger than the white cat which is in the foreground, but one and a half times bigger than the collie which is two feet behind it, which seems to be four times bigger than the black cat in this photo but the cat’s lying down, but that is only a third the size of the terrier as they’re lying together by the fire which is a third the size of the German Shepherd when its lying down, but it has shorter legs than the other dog so does that mean in this photo I should add a couple more inches or does the fore-shortening of the angle the photo was taken at give me a false message and I’ll disregard it? MMMMmmm….

I don’t want the white cat looking like its on steroids and as big as the collie…. or that the German Shepherd must be a special kind of minature one (!!) “

MMm…… Tricky!

And that’s before I’ve grouped them all together in one painting. Putting them all together in a way they were never together in real life. BUT, making it look natural!

Gooooooooood job I like a challenge! 🙂


I've been an artist all of my life, and my paintings now hang on walls in Europe, USA and Canada. I'm working on getting them on the other continents! My wide range of artwork has been exhibited nearer to home in the East Midlands, with the Guild of Erotic Artists at Beaumont Hall Studios in Hertfordshire, and at "Erotica", Olympia, London. I have also been featured alongside my work in the Guild of Erotic Artists book (volume 2). I love to create dramatic interest in my pictures, whether it’s to paint an unusual landscape, or just to utilise dramatic lighting in my figure drawings or strong colour in my animal portraits. Delighting in the spontaneous tendencies of watercolour adds an interesting and distinctive look to my paintings, some of which are purposefully ambiguous, enabling the viewer to use their own interpretation of my artwork. I also love to hide images, and humour within my paintings, whether it’s a secret message, or an erotic couple hidden within a landscape, or even an erotic landscape where the couple are camouflaged as the features of the land itself. I am equally happy painting in oils, acrylics or watercolours and love to draw with pencil or ink. I have also developed the very effective method of drawing using white pencil on black card which creates dramatic pictures by just picking out where the light catches the body and leaving the rest of the image to the imagination, in darkness. I can also utilise many different styles, whether it is realistic, abstract, surrealistic, erotic, fantasy or camouflage art where something is hidden within the painting. I'm just passionate about my art, whatever I paint! But, it doesn't matter how many landscapes or pet portraits I paint, its always the erotic stuff that people are interested in! I started blogging to share some of the strange conversations I have with the people I meet. But its evolved into far more than that now.

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