Photography and Framing Tips
I have had a few commissions where the owners pet in question has passed away, and they are asking this to be a beautiful and permanent memory of their pet. In these exceptional instances I am generally able to work as best I can from photos which may not be the ideal pose or under the ideal lighting, - again the more photos the better especially in situations such as these. To make the best portrait I will need a clear head shot of the eyes in particular. The eyes are to me, the most important feature of the whole painting and if the eyes are not correct and not portraying any emotion, then the whole painting itself will not work as effectively.
The correct lighting is also important as the colours can look very different under indoor artificial lighting as opposed to natural sunlight. Ideally one of the photographs should be taken outside in natural daylight preferably on a bright but overcast day, so I can see for sure the various natural colourings of the coat. However, I do also love to paint the interaction between bright sunlight and cool shadows which can add greatly to the atmosphere of the entire painting.
Taking a picture from above while looking down at the animal very rarely works well, and you may find getting down to the animal at its’ level is the best angle. (A wonderful character shot is getting the dog to face away from you and looking back over its’ shoulder at you!)
If the photographs you have are not ideal then I can still work with them e.g: by lighting dark areas on the computer, so I can see into the shadows and pick out details not seen easily otherwise. I am also able to delete parts of the photograph you may not want added to the painting such as a collar or leash, unwanted background, both ears facing forwards, etc.
It is important that you differentiate between the photos you want me to use as reference material, and the main photo you want copied to avoid any misunderstandings!
Tips on Framing.
Pastels on Velour are very fragile; however with the following precautions taken, your portrait will continue to give you many years of memories.
Each pastel painting I provide will be mounted onto hard corrugated plastic board which you can incorporate into your framing. Around the edges of the board we have applied special plastic ‘spacers’ which provide 1/8th inch space between the mat and the painting. Finally, over top of these and the painting, is a neutral coloured mat. All that needs to be added to complete the framing is an outside frame and glass.
The 1/8th inch gap between mat and painting is there to provide space for any loose particles of pastel dust to fall out of sight and harms way, behind the mat.
When choosing an outside frame for your pastel painting you must ensure that the depth of the frame will allow space for the thickness of the glass, mat, board and spacers.
Great care must be taken when adding the framing that the painting is not tapped, turned face down or treated roughly as this may cause any excess pastel dust to smear the inside of the glass and you will need to go back in to clean the glass off – no damage is done to the painting, but it can be a frustrating process, if care is not taken! Metal frames are a lot easier to handle as they don’t require any hammering.
Care of Your Pastel Portrait.
Until your painting is framed, ensure that nothing is laid down on top of it. Once it is framed, store it in an upright position or face up. Ensure it is not bumped around or lain face down. Framing and hanging right away will preserve your painting for you to enjoy for many years to come.