“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” – Chuck Palahniuk
The project that I wish to talk about today, is very special and close to my heart, not only because of the product that came out in the end but mostly because of the cause and the client. As I write on, I hope that Flowz is happy and content wherever it is and continues to reside in the memories of its owners for a very long time to come.
Timelapse video of the making of flowz’s (pet) portrait:
The Special Demand
It was one fine day that I received this mail where a client wanted to gift their best friend a portrait of his dog. This was a common request. However, what followed was that the dog, also called Flowz had Stage 4 Lung Cancer. Flowz was going to be euthanized in a span of over a week.
They wanted a portrait of Flowz that would help keep a piece of Flowz even after her soul liberated.
The painting was supposed to ease the pain of losing her. I felt blessed for having being handed the responsibility of curating something so pristine.
And with that, I begun, trying my best to do this special bond of love and loyalty, justice.
What did the Client want?
The first step entailed selecting a picture which would be then used to make a portrait. I received many pictures from the Client however it was not easy which one to move forward with.
The first option showed a really cute close up of Flowz’s face with that cute little nose. However, the eyes in that picture looked weary and sad.
The second option was Flowz in a bright red scarf with somebody holding out his paw. I was unsure of how the composition would work around this one.
The third option and the one I chose showed a happier, wholesome and a beautiful full body portrait of Flowz, just as I hope that she would be remembered.
After having selected the Picture, I was still unsure of how to compose the entire portrait. But I was indeed confident that this could well be composed perfectly.
The other constraint and a challenge was TIME. I had a little over a week to present the final piece. This constraint had direct implications for the Size and the Materials we were planning to use.
There was another personalized demand that the Clients brought forward. They told me that Flowz was no less than a Diva and always had these set of accessories to style herself with. They wanted me to add a Chain around the was not originally a part of the picture. I was excited about how I could creatively add this piece of accessory.
The sizes were shown to the client in a Home Setting for them to understand the scale relatively.
I also told them about the different materials that could be considered as options given the time constraint. We settled with Oil Paints.
With all this finalized, I began with approaching the painting head-on. Read on:
As I told you earlier, initially I only had a faint idea about the background. I had a vision about the Colour Schemes I wanted to compose it well.
Generally, I like to begin with my paintings from the Left and move towards the Right. With this painting. I started from the tail. I began from the dark hues moving to the lighter ones as is generally followed when working with Oil Colours.
I sketched a few ideas for the total composition and finally settled for this. I planned on having Gold Foil for Background. I was meant to signify the beautiful soul that Flowz was. I also wanted to exhibit that the aura lives on forever. I wanted to incorporate a shiny background for the same reasons.
I also wanted to give a Modern Look to the Painting. I wanted Flowz to POP in the whole painting. Flowz was supposed to be the center of attraction and I only wanted to set a stage for him.
The sun of Gold Foil was to depict the source of Light. The Rays in the Background shows the Liberated soul and how they are in a better place now. I used lighter shades of Pink and Green for the background. I believe it would be the right diad for a Lively Combination depicting softness and all things that are pretty and beautiful.
The next step was painting the Chain. I decided not to make a very realistic Chain. I used gold foil to make it look like a Garland to pay homage to the soul we lost.
I also planned to make a heart in a corner. It was the client’s Idea to change from a simple heart to an old tattoo style heart. It also has a banner to have the name of Flowz in the handwriting of the client. This was for the purpose of adding a personalized memory and to involve the client in the process instead of just the final product.
Challenges and Opportunities
Gold Foil Circle: In terms of technicality, the circle out of the gold foil was difficult to make. The process involved saving the ears which were also to have shadows. I helped achieve this goal with the help of a tool called a spatula.
The controlled movement of any viewer’s line of sight: I wanted the viewer to follow a particular path when trying to focus on the painting. I wanted anybody to first stare into the eyes and the face of Flowz, followed by the rays and the sun, gaining a vision of the body and finally culminating at the old tattoo style heart. I tried to achieve a rhythmic motion. Many artists help achieve this by using various historic principles. They are the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Series. These have helped in better composition of buildings for architects, sculptors, and artists for art.
The end product turned out to be great automatically when my constant motivation was love.