Friday, 19 June 2015

Pack: Head Studies

foxhound: head studies, oils on linen board

These head studies are all of the same dog, Skye - she lives in High Peak, Derbyshire - and I have painted her a number of times which makes her a sort of Muse, I suppose.
I have spent a good deal of the last couple of years puzzling about what my "style" is. When I began, it seemed a sufficient achievement just to get a likeness of whatever it was I was painting; "style" didn't appear to come into it. 
The other factor is that I offer to paint people's pets to commission and as a rule people expect photographic realism in their painting. 
As they are handing over good money up-front, I feel it is important to give them what they want. 
Advice to artists almost always revolves around the truism that your style will sort of emerge all by itself so long as you keep working. I suppose that is true, but you still have to make choices and there are still forks in the stylistic road. For me, the most significant one was not to take the photographic realism road. 
Even these head studies - which are certainly intended to be accurate and realistic - are not photographic. I have now got to the point in developing a style where I feel quite affronted if someone says it "looks just like a photograph!!". If that is indeed the case then why, I wonder, did I labour for many hours to create something that could equally well have been achieved in a split second depression of the shutter?
Good question.
Don't know the answer.

Have a great weekend everyone and thank you for looking at my paintings.