View Full Version : Cat Two - Ming
03-04-2006, 10:33 PM
Well, one more college try. I had a whole post typed out and ready to submit when I got curious about the [more] button under the smilies and decided to click on it. That was the end of me. My whole browser session froze and I could not recover, and lost my entire post I had painstakingly typed. Heck, can't even recreate it now.
At any rate, my halfborn plan to try to become a pet portraitist was dealt a rather strong blow over in the animal and wildlife forum. It seems the ultra photorealistic style of pet portraiture is the preferred one, and that is so not me - and I got a bit glassy-eyed reading about demanding eagle-eyed clients staring intently back and forth between the reference photo and the painting, just SEARCHING to find some small difference that they could pick a nit about.
But a couple other folks assured me that they were working in the animal painting world although they didn't have that ultra photorealistic style that seemed to be preferred, and that was enough for me to at least keep practicing.
So tonight I did this portrait of my cat Ming. Ming is a very *round* calico cat which always gave my former vet a chuckle. She said that with a name like Ming she always expected to see a sleek and haughty Siamese. :cat:
This was done on a 9x12 sheet of darkish blue colourfix, using odds and ends and teeny stubs, mostly Nupastels - a very limited palette since most of my pastels are out in the car all ready for art lessons. I was told over in the animal and wildlife arena that I shouldn't even consider trying to do portraits unless I could capture an EXTREMELY good likeness. This was a bit discouraging too, as again something like that is one of those things I associate with the photorealistic style. But I'll post the ref. photo of Ming that I used as well as the painting, so you can critique me on how close I managed to come.
But *please* don't say things like "the forth whisker down on the left-hand side curves more in the ref photo than it does in the painting". Those are the sort of photorealistic details that make me buggy. :eek: But if you see anything really dreadful please let me know!
03-04-2006, 11:12 PM
This is great, Debbie. Pet portraits don't always have to be photorealistic, as long as you capture the likeness. If the owner can tell it is their pet - that is all that really matter (that and that they love it)
I could never be a photorealist and I don't intend to be. If people want photorealism - I'llt ake a photo of their pet for them for free...if they want an orginal painting of their beloved...then they can feel free to call :)
03-04-2006, 11:16 PM
*i* think you've gotten a really good likeness going on ... i'd suggest a) putting more shadow in on the left side of her face (e.g. her eye is a different colour as a result of being in shadow and the shadow would add more sculptedness to her head ... b) there's shadow that could be added to her right eye too .... as i've so often read, squint at the reference photo and the shadows will distinguish themselves very well .... and c) more white hairs catching the light on her forehead could be added, especially over her eye in shadow ... i hope this helps ... again, though, i think you've gotten a good likeness and your style is great
03-05-2006, 12:18 AM
Hi, I think you've done a wonderful job on your cat and a very good likeness! However, if you're anything like me, you don't just want to hear all that but also want to hear someone's honest (but not too harsh) opinion.
I feel that her eyes are just a little too big, especially under the pupils, perhaps you could make the dark outlines a little wider going onto the yellow? Also I would make the pupils a little darker and pointier at the bottom and add a tittle triangle of dark to the inner corners. Other than that I think your painting is great!
03-05-2006, 12:54 AM
Mikki, it looks like Ming to me. And if it is any consolation, you have seen my work and it is definitely NOT photorealistic and I have two pet portrait commisions right now, and am donating a third for a silent auction in the winter, so pooh, pooh, to the photorealist pooh-poohers, LOL.
And Cori, I love that. I will take a PHOTO for free. ROFL!!!!
In the interest of nitpicking, though, :>, I think that Ming's chin needs just a little more substance. And if you hit the shadow on (Ming's) left muzzle, it will define the muzzle more and really be MING.
03-05-2006, 01:30 AM
Debbie, I have been following the thread over in the animal forum and am so sorry that you are discourage from it. I hope you take the advice with a grain of salt. You are off to a great start with your animals and I sure would like you to continue painting them, you are just developing your style and the more you paint the more it will come out. I have watched you paint for some time now, both in your posts and on vpon, I wish I could be as loose as you, you paint very freely and I admre that.
your painting sure looks like Ming. the only thing I would do is put some darker color around the eye. An easy fix if you want to...and only if you want to
03-05-2006, 05:45 AM
Debbie,you've got the expression just right on Ming's face and a lot of times,as in "people"portraits,I think it really helps in getting a good likeness.I just wanted to tell you that I feel you're already on the right path,having won half the battle by capturing the "look" so well.. and with all these wonderful people here giving you such good advice,this is going to be a great one!
03-05-2006, 07:45 AM
Thank you so much for your advice everyone! I think I may have to break down and get my pastels out of the car to be able to implement them. :) As I said I was working from a very limited palette of my pastel stubs, and while I can *see* things like Ming's left eye being a bit more darker and in shadow I just didn't have any of the right colors to make it so.
But LOL, my son said the same thing as Cori. That if people want such a photorealistic portrait why not just take a photo! I do have a pretty nice digital camera. ;) Anyway, I hope to look at her some more today - except this day is going to be hectic crazy so not sure if I will have time!!! :eek: Maybe not until tonight at the earliest, and then the lighting is really bad again. But I'm feeling encouraged because the painting does say "Ming" to me when I look at it. Just a few more tweaks.
03-05-2006, 08:40 AM
Debbie, I have been following the thread over in the animal forum and am so sorry that you are discourage from it.
Hi Piper! No I'm not really discouraged, otherwise I wouldn't still be trying to paint my animals! And I'm still having fun doing it. Just feeling a bit 'out of step' with a lot of the animal portraitists. But I'm having fun with my own style, and enjoying trying to do portraits of my own pets. I have a friend who has several pets she is quite dotty over, and I just offered to paint one of her pets for free if she is interested, as way to get started - so I'll see what happens.
If she agrees and likes it - well I know that she is very active in animal rescue and her local dog park, and they have a big auction every year. Maybe I could agree to auction a pet portrait too, and another way to get my foot in the door! That's not until summer I think, so I have a few more months to practice. I can always raid the RIL too I imagine. Lots of animals there too.
03-05-2006, 08:54 AM
Your painting says "Ming' to me and I don't even know her! You know me, I prefer loose over photorealistic and I think you have your own unique style that you should continue to develop. After all not everyone wants a realistic painting. (you've definitely captured that calico look...my cat Ceara looks a lot like Ming. I do have a haughty siamese too so I was hoping to see one when I opened your post!) Good luck to you with your pet portraits...That's what got me interested in pastels..I tried to paint my cats but discovered I am terrible at them...I haven't tried a furry animal in a year! I think maybe you've inspired me to try again.
03-05-2006, 12:20 PM
I think you have done a brilliant job on this, and really like it alot........ for me its your best to date........ really like the blue background you chose, it sets your cat off lovely ........ if I were to crit anything, I would of liked a little more depth to the eyes
03-05-2006, 03:08 PM
Your paintings have improved greatly over the last little while and I think you've done a great job on this. I too think it is your best one to date. Develop your own style that makes you happy - who cares what others think!!
03-05-2006, 03:39 PM
Before I forgett, I just read that a painter may not like his/her work to be called photorealistic. He may want it to be called realistic (not realistic as we usually call, but realistic as equal to reality).
And why not photorealistic ? Because photo distort reality, so by saying that an artist did a PHOTOrealistic work, one is implying that his work has inherent flaws. But lets stop beeing a chatterbox and back to your work.
I think that you are doing a great progress and I find your painting a good one. And as Leslie says, to paint an animal is not only about likeness but also about capturing its personnality.
If only the best birds should sing, they'd be so few we probbably wouldn't hear them sing.
03-05-2006, 05:00 PM
I think it does definitely say Ming. I know there's another animal portraist here who has a unique style that's not photorealistic. I can't think of her name. There are clients for all styles. I'm more realistic but that's what comes out for me but that's probably not you. Take advice with a grain of salt for sure.
03-05-2006, 11:13 PM
Well, I made a few minor changes to Ming, so this is the latest update. Probably fairly subtle - mostly around the eyes and a bit of shading on the fur. I'm not sure I want to mess with the eyes much more as it's awfully hard to get those pastel sticks in there and I worry about making a big mess, as I very nearly did!
José, I have not heard that some artists don't like their work photorealistic. So what do we call them then? Just plain "realistic" does not seem descriptive enough. I would say my own work is more or less "realistic" in that it's not abstract and you can generally see exactly what I'm trying to paint - but not realistic in the sense that anyone would ever mistake it for a photo or that sort of reality! So what sort of word would differentiate my sort of work from someone whose work is really ultra-realistic.
I have to admit I guess I don't have enough of an eye to see most photos as flawed. Sure there can be some distortion if you are using wide-angled or telephoto lenses, for example, and things like that. But for a simple snapshot if there are any sorts of distortions they are far too subtle for me to make out.:lol:
03-06-2006, 04:58 PM
Beautiful draw :)
03-06-2006, 06:44 PM
Here's the link that better explains what I meant :
The part that talks about is under :
«A Few Million Words on Photo-Realism»
vBulletin® v3.5.8, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.