|3.5" flat round wood|
Friday, November 30, 2018
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
|Dalmatian, 22x28 acrylic on canvas, $1400|
I'VE BEEN A dog fanatic since I was a very little girl; I was called Dog Girl in grade school. As a child I read every dog book I could get my hands on, saw every dog movie. I have lived my entire adult life as a professional artist, and in the last 5 years I have painted over 1000 dog portraits, shipping them world-wide.
|Coronation, Pug, SOLD|
A YEAR AGO I started these "Breed" Paintings. I love every part of the process. First, I research the breed, eventually settling on a time period that will lend authenticity and flavor. I rent movies in that time period, pulling off still frames for building and clothing reference. This is my Pug painting. In 1689, William of Orange from Holland and his wife Mary sailed to England to ascend the throne as joint monarchs. Their many pugs accompanied them, and attended the coronation, adorned with orange ribbons around their necks. This was the beginning of the Pug's popularity throughout Europe, the fad being an orange ribbon or collar on your pet. This is my interpretation of the event, titled Coronation.
|Shar Pei, SOLD|
I FOUND THE Shar Pei history fascinating. After being almost wiped out in China by the Communists Revolution, a man named Matgo Law saved the breed in the 70's. I learned that his first pup was found in a basket in Hong Kong. His 2nd dog, Sweet Pea, was the foundation of all the Shars in America today. This is my rendition of that basket of puppies. Unfortunately, it turns out the story is not true. I thought if Mr. Law was a young man in 1970, then he is my age, and I did a search for him on Facebook. I found him and he was kind enough to answer my request for information, saying that part of the story was not true. I guess I shouldn't trust what I read. Oh well, I'm sure there were pups in a basket at some point.
|Yukizakura, Shiba Inu, 22x28 acrylic on canvas $1400|
MY BIGGEST OBSTACLE was acquiring copyright -free photos to use as reference for the dogs. I started a Portrait Giveaway contest on my Facebook page where I give away a $250 portrait each month, stipulating in the rules that all entry photos become free for me to use in future projects. In the last 4 years I have given away over $10,000 in paintings. Each month, the theme is different, like "Non-sporting Group, Puppy, 6-9 weeks old, full body." I keep a file for every breed, and when I feel I have enough photos I start designing that painting. This painting of Shiba Inus was a delight to work on. The sliding Japanese barn door is from the movie "Seven Samurai made in 1954. The painting is called "Yukizakura," the Japanese word for the phenomenon when snow falls on the cherry blossoms.
|Dogue de Bordeaux, SOLD|
ON THIS SECOND painting I was able to find this photo of a chateau in the Bordeaux region of France; the person that took the photo stayed there (as it is a bed-and-breakfast) and kindly gave me permission to use.
|Bernese Mountain Dog, SOLD|
MY FIRST ONE. I wasn't sure I could pull it off, but a challenge is what I live for. Berner people on Facebook are amazing, and photos came pouring in. I learned in my research that Bernese Mountain Dogs primarily took weaver's baskets to market, and I was able to find a free photo of the Bern mountains in Switzerland. The cabin is from the 1968 version of the movie "Heidi."
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Friday, May 1, 2015
EVERY MONTH I give away a 10x10 portrait. I pick the photo I think would be most fun to paint – a photo that touches me – as a dog lover or as an artist.
PAISLEY was April's winner (theme Nose). She is a Whippet and lives in Australia. She is a special girl and I would like to share her story with you, as told by her young owner.
I'VE STRUGGLED with OCD and self-mutilation since I was 12. Last year (at 19) I relapsed and started cutting again. I was in and out of hospital. I didn't want suicide to happen – wasn't my intention. Once I got the 70 stitches out I went home and cried. Paisley came to me and laid her head down on me. She gives me strength, she's my saving grace. Then and even still, I am astounded that this dog, a WHIPPET! was capable of the empathy that I so craved in my closest friends and family. It was like she could read the pathetic and sad thoughts that disabled me and wanted me to know I was lovable in the midst of my suffering.
THE HARSH reality is that recovery is uncomfortable. Trying to find new ways to cope when you already have the "perfect" way to numb the pain is hard. Paisley is my distraction, an effective therapy for OCD. For the first year of her life I put her through misery. I let her watch me sob. I gave her every reason to go to another family member and love them, but she kept coming back to me. And no matter what, she didn't judge. It's hard to explain why I love her so much. Whippets are challenging, and their kind, loving charismatic personality is just beyond amazing!
SHE'S THE first thing I see in the morning, and it's tough to ruminate about how awful you feel when you've got a whippet nose in your face.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
IF YOU send me a photo to paint, you own the copyright on that photo and I need your permission to paint from it. When I paint a picture, I own the copyright on the painting. I can now use the painted image of your photo anyway I like. I do not have to ask your permission or give you royalties if I decide to put the image on items to sell, such as prints, mugs, or T-shirts.
I DO sell shirts and such on Cafepress. I get 5% commission on sales. It's pretty minimal. But I like having a theme to paint all the breeds of dogs. I have a "Sitting Tall" theme. I have an "All-Over T" theme, and just recently added a Puppies! theme.
LETS TAKE the All-Over T's for example. I paint those on a 16x16 canvas- because it will print large I need a large image. This is my favorite size canvas on which to paint dog portraits. It sells for $450. If I know in advance that I will be painting your picture and using it for this project, I offer a bonus. Sometimes I offer a free Christmas ornament, but I always offer a 25% discount on the painting. That's a $112 discount. I do it this way because I can afford to give a discount- I am still making a sale. I cannot afford to give each person a free T-shirt, which would cost me $40 each. (At 200 breeds of dogs- that's $8000.) It's also a great incentive for people to order the 16x16 size, which makes us both happy.
Posted by Nadi Spencer at 2:32 PM
Sunday, January 4, 2015
Monday, December 29, 2014
Thursday, December 11, 2014
I GOT 100 entries the first day. And, for the same reason people like me to go through their FB photo albums, they don't seem to know what would make a good painting. And that's OK – amongst the blurry, low resolution, dark, or unclear photos there are some winners for sure. I don't have much time to comment on the photos, but I want people to know I saw their dog, and then I want to leave a comment on how the picture could be improved. I can spend hours at it.
AND THEN I have to choose only one. Is it the playful puppy that melts your heart or the old girl with her graying face and knowing eyes. I look at color values and composition, but it really comes down to gut feeling and which one makes me want to paint.
MANY of the contestants want to know if their picture is acceptable, so I've started a series of "Giveaway Hints", showing various ways to get better pictures. I think it's working! Suddenly there are many more good quality shots – more photos to put into the "Contender" file. Harder for me to choose.
I WILL choose. I will be happy for the winner, sad for the rest, and I will thoroughly enjoy painting it. Then let's see what next month brings.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Posted by Nadi Spencer at 6:44 PM
Friday, October 18, 2013
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
I've been asked if I paint my work in Photoshop, if I use an app to group the animals, and are they hand-painted. Here is how I do it. Yes, I use Photoshop to create my design, using photos that you send to me. The rest is hand-painted on stretched canvas, which is primed with either orange or purple acrylic paint. Fell free to ask more questions.