View Full Version : Border Collie

Marty Shay
06-27-2011, 03:38 PM
Hello: Just finished a Border Collie portrait and wanted to post for C&C's. Thanks ahead of time for your comments. This sweet female is the heart dog of her owner, she carries a "worried" look, her owner says she thinks her girl feels protective and responsible for her and keeps a concerned eye on her. I've sealed this painting with a gloss finish making it difficult to get a photo without glare, there are some spots like the background on the lower left. I've also had to brighten the photo slightly to show some detail, I'll have a scan later which will more realistically capture the more accurate look and detail. Painting is on stretched canvas, acrylics, size is 16 x 20. Painting will be framed with a strong, sturdy black frame.


Kathrin G.
06-27-2011, 04:11 PM
absolutely love her eyes, well done :clap:

Marty Shay
06-27-2011, 04:25 PM
Thanks, Kathrin, the eyes are the focal point for me--and for this owner, hopefully she will see her beloved companion in her expression and her eyes.

06-27-2011, 05:01 PM

Ms Nan
06-27-2011, 10:49 PM
What a beautiful dog - those compassionate eyes show how protective he must be. Well done.

06-27-2011, 11:03 PM
Aww, she looks like a sweet companion and you did a fine job of capturing the look.

Marty Shay
06-27-2011, 11:17 PM
Thanks so much Lachri, Ms Nan and Patti. Her owner says the BC worries about her so I hoped to convey a compassion/concern rather than one of worry (every photo of her has this serious look), I'm glad, Ms Nan you saw the compassion.

06-27-2011, 11:44 PM
Beautifully executed and what a soul.

06-28-2011, 02:05 AM
WOW! Those eyes are beautiful!!

chammi kaiser
06-28-2011, 05:54 AM
Once you have captured the expression in the eyes, you have a winner and this is certainly one.(I always begin my animal portraits with the eyes) It is a beautiful dog and you have done her full justice. By the way like the shine on that soft nose!

06-28-2011, 08:20 AM
wow just beautiful .

Marty Shay
06-28-2011, 10:53 AM
Idylbrush: She does have soul in that face, doesn't she?
RPut, Chammi, Elinor: Thank you so much, the owner kept saying "I hope you can capture her eyes" maybe I have, I appreciate all your comments.

Elinor, your signature statement is so me, it makes me laugh when I read it, now I have to find someone's who's not a real good shot to help me finish canvases :-).

06-28-2011, 01:19 PM
I love the B.C. breed. You have done a wonderful job on this. The eyes are to die for.

06-28-2011, 09:56 PM
Yes, yes, yes! You have certainly captured the personality and "essence" of a Border Collie. The eyes, the posture, the "knowing", the strength and softness-it's all there. I love this! (Have you thought about a different background?-very simplistic dark to light tones with just some light surrounding the subject.)

06-29-2011, 07:41 AM
Wonderful job, and the eyes really make the painting! :thumbsup: she does look as though she is watching someone and is concerned about them

06-29-2011, 09:14 AM
An excellent work. Very beautiful and compassionate dog too.

Marty Shay
06-30-2011, 11:56 AM
Thank you so much Dcam, vensunn, Deb, Lathe for your comments, I'm so glad you see what I hoped to project through her eyes--that loving concern for her owner.

Thanks for your comments about the background, vensunn, I struggle with backgrounds and almost always do a simple background of varying intensity of color (light around or at the subject and feathering out to a darker tone), this time I went for a more "detailed" background. The photo I liked and the owner liked of her BC was one where she was actually sitting in her background with pine boughs in the background--so I decided to try an out-of-focus rendition of that background. I would be interested in more of your comments about what you think would be a good background since I will soon be working on a beautiful black Lab sitting in her yard; that photo is taken with a slight downward look with green grass all around so perhaps I could think through your suggestions and come up with something very appropriate for that one. I do want the dog to be prominent, obviously, so try to keep my backgrounds from overwhelming my subject--so, for instance, would you have done darks on the edge going to light around the subject here or darker near the bottom of the subject to light around the head/neck? Thanks for your suggestions.

06-30-2011, 01:49 PM
Hi Marty Shay-
Yes, the background that you say that you usually do is exactly what I was imagining when I made my comments. Your subject is so very beautiful and well done-I feel that the dark to light background would make the whole painting more dramatically classical.
Your wetcanvas friend

Marty Shay
06-30-2011, 02:06 PM
Great, Steven, perhaps I'll post before I'm too far along next time and see how it looks. I do my (overall) backgrounds first but seems I'm always "correcting" on shadows and shading before I'm finished, look forward to comments about that next time. Thanks for your kind comments--seems I've gotten into labs and Border Collies--coming in the near future are Australian Cattle dogs and possibly a Kelpie.

I find I pour over photographs/paintings I really like and explore the backgrounds, seems I lack creativity there--or perhaps too conservative sometimes. And I meant the Border Collie was sitting in her backyard--not background--see, "background" is imprinted on my brain, :).

07-01-2011, 10:44 AM
FABULOUS portrait of a very special companion!!:clap:
I LOVE IT!! Those eyes are captivating!!:thumbsup:
You really achieved the caring/concern/worry of an expression,
I love the pose too.. very well done!

Try taking the photo before you varnish it.. saves alot of problems with glare! its what I do!

Marty Shay
07-01-2011, 06:11 PM
WOO HOO-------thanks OkeeKat--mixed the gloss and satin varnishes, mixed very carefully to avoid bubbles, applied it and LOVE IT!!!! Has gloss cut down some and detail very good, went on nice and smooth. Thousand thanks!! I'm happy!

07-09-2011, 08:16 PM
Wow, sensational job Marty!! Love what you did with the fur, the eyes are brilliant and also love the green background.
I always take photos before the varnish, like Kathie says. Did you ever tried the spray varnish, it's so much easier to apply.

07-09-2011, 08:56 PM
Absolutely perfect !!!!!

Marty Shay
07-09-2011, 11:35 PM
Thanks so much Aari, the "eyes compliment" is much appreciated, I stand in awe of your work. I have tried the spray varnish, just can't do a good job with it, it streaks (or my hand streaks it) and I stopped using it, now apply the varnish with a fine brush (a couple of coats) and like it so much better, that gives me better control. I'll have to try the camera shot before varnish, either that or wait until I have it scanned.

Thank you Jerry, love your signature--hmmm the wisdom is the hard part, :-).

07-09-2011, 11:46 PM
Very nice painting. Love the Border Collie. I have one.

07-10-2011, 12:52 PM
The eyes are the soul of a dog and you captured hers beautifully.

07-10-2011, 01:46 PM
Oh I want to cuddle this sweet soul :)

07-10-2011, 02:50 PM
beautiful! i wish you had did a series of photos of your progress. love to see how you work

Marty Shay
07-10-2011, 11:09 PM
Thanks so much everyone for your comments.

ecobb: I painted a champion Border Collie late last year, he was a stunning dog, this one had such a different personality, his personality was "head up and move 'em out"--very focused on his job. This sweet girl is very "velcro" to her mama; her job is to make sure her mama is ok--24/7. This one was a little difficult for me because I wanted her to be more like the champion I had done earlier, that wasn't her however, so I let her be her (see below for explanation of that comment :)) . I have Australian Cattle dogs, I love the herding dogs, Borders are a great breed.

Thanks redgrl, yep, the spirit of the dog resides in the eyes, the owner wanted to see "her dog" in the eyes. She immed. said she did (she has seen a rather poor photograph of it, she'll get the portrait the end of this month).

Eyepaint: She is a laid back BC, compared to the one I did last fall--he was "ramped", she is vigilant--maybe all her energy goes into watching over her mom.

Thanks Jetsream: My stages scare even me, maybe other "artists" are like that too, but mid-stage I think it won't come together, I've learned to push through that stage (earlier I almost abandoned some portraits because of this "ugly stage"). There comes a point when I feel "the dog shows up", I paint until the dog shows up, this girl showed up in the latter stages. That stage is when I can feel the dog's spirit, sometimes I can almost feel the fur and the dog in the canvas when I run my hand over the canvas--it's a special time in my work. I've never heard anyone say anything like that but it happens to me and until the dog shows up, I know I haven't captured it yet. I almost never send an owner any pictures until the latter stages, I think they may not see their dog yet and be very disappointed; I've learned eventually it will come if I'm patient (it's taken me a while to learn this). Some artists do the eyes first, I don't, they come early in the portrait but after I have blocked in fur, shadows, some of the face structure. Sometimes the eyes aren't totally finished until near the end--depends on the above--when the dog shows up. :-)