Sunday, July 15, 2012

Commission painting

"Hello, Goodbye"
15" x 15" Watercolor

A friend who commissioned me to paint a landscape also asked that I do a painting of her dog who is nearing the end of her life. The picture, taken on a smart phone, was difficult to enlarge for detail and was quickly snapped in a park, showing the surroundings, the woman's large purse, and part of another dog. My friend requested a square format focusing on the loving goodbye hug. I did a couple small sketches, cropping to about this pose and tried some different color palettes. My friend suggested she bring the dog to my house, which was so helpful. The dog is a small Dalmatian, and has a very sweet personality. I took some photos to help with the dog portion of the art. I draw my own subjects, rather than trace or project, so being able to see some detail on the dog is important. 

There is a very sweet story behind this painting.  Years ago my friend would walk her Lab past the home of a family from China. A Dalmatian puppy was always tied to the front porch, so my friend would stop and pat the dog. One day the grandfather handed her the dog on a leash and made it clear he wanted her to take the dog. Being a true animal lover, my friend accepted the dog. Many years later in a park, a young woman approached and said she once owned a dog like this one. Through conversation, they realized that this was the dog she had when she was a young girl. She and her brother had never been told the true circumstances of the dog leaving the home. Not long ago the young woman again got to see the dog and gave her a passionate hug, knowing that at the dog's advanced age, she was unlikely to see her again. My friend gave the title to this painting.

This dog is very calm and loving and has served with her owner in a program that brings dogs into nursing homes, VA hospitals, and homes of patients on hospice. She has brought love and consolation to many people in her life.

I have spent many hours on this piece. Unfortunately, my photo of the painting does not do the background justice. I wanted to suggest the outdoor setting with New Gamboge, Sap Green, Windsor Blue, and Cobalt. The background washes out in the photo. 


CrimsonLeaves said...

You did a masterful job on the hands, Mary. I like the background as you've handled it, perfect for the blurring out of the background and focusing in on your friend. The whole piece breaks my heart though. Truly. My heart goes out to your friend.

hmuxo said...

Mary, this was such an emotional post..beautiful words...the painting is absolutely PERFECT and the background shows that it was outside. Unless you are a dog owner, you never truly understand the loss of the pet! I'm so sorry for your friend.!

Sensible Sarah said...

Oh, how I love how you painted that picture... You made me feel the pain just looking at it.

Hope you have a happy day.

Ciao Bella
Sensible Sarah

Mary Paquet said...

Friends, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I am still agonizing over whether to darken the background near the lighter values of the woman and dog.

hw (hallie) farber said...

This has such great feeling.

PAMO ART said...

So beautiful Mary! A very touching story too- you really nailed the feeling.