My final painting in the 2013 Canine Parade of Christmas Pet Portraits: Riva!!
Riva will be a Christmas gift for Kira's parents. Their German Shepherd passed away this year and they miss her greatly so hopefully this painting will provide some comfort and a nice remembrance of her. When your children are grown and out of the home your pets can become almost like children. I know mine are very close to my heart.
The reference photo had some problems. You know how the animals look in the road at night right before you slam on your brakes to avoid hitting them? They have this unholy gleam in their eyes. Well, Riva's picture had that too and this was the best reference I was offered. Once again, Google to the rescue! I found a dog at L.A. German Shepherd Rescue that looked almost identical to Riva and I used her as the reference for the eys and a few other details that simply were not clear in the low res blurry photo I was given.
People- I can't stress enough how important a good reference is if you want a good painting. I could never produce a head and shoulders painting of Riva from the photo provided but I was able to make a pretty good painting of her guarding the door to her home. This was her parent's favorite picture so I really tried to work that door into it. And the red does look wonderful against the black fur and accented by her red collar.