Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Drawing and Painting Dogs

Bella, by Louise Lambert
I have recently taken up sketching again, and the other day decided to try and draw Bella. Even though she was asleep, she kept changing position slightly, which wasn't very helpful. The trouble is I can only really draw her when she's asleep; she's not really up to 'sitting' for long periods! I could of course have taken a photograph, but that would have been less of a challenge, even though many artists have to resort to the camera in order to get a good likeness. A local artist I know takes commissions for pet portraits and only works from photographs.

Yorkie on Log, by Michaela Kelly

Way back before cameras were in common usage, artists did not have the luxury of taking snaps to capture their subjects in fixed poses. This made painting animals particularly challenging. Victorian artist Briton Rivière (14 August 1840 – 20 April 1920), specialised in painting animals and in an interview published in Chums Boys Annual (No. 256, Vol. V, 4 August 1897), he explained some of the practicalities of painting both tame and wild animals: "I have always been a great lover of dogs but I have worked at them so much that I've grown tired of having them about me. However, you can never paint a dog unless you are fond of it. I never work from a dog without the assistance of a man who is well acquainted with animals..... Collies, I think, are the most restless dogs....greyhounds are also very restless, and so are fox-terriers..... The only way to paint wild animals is to gradually accumulate a large number of studies and a great knowledge of the animal itself, before you can paint its picture....". (Source: Wikipedia)

Riviere's life would have been so much easier if he was alive today, but I doubt if the paintings he produced would have been any more realistic!

Sympathy, by Briton Rivière (1877)

The Long Sleep, by Briton Rivière (1868)

If you're interested in learning how to draw dogs, check out this helpful step by step tutorial. I'm certainly going to give it a try, using a photograph as my source obviously! 

Posted by Louise

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