Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The hiatus is over ….

I have to admit I never thought I'd take such a long break from my blog.  I've noticed a number of my favorite bloggers have also taken some time off this summer.  Hmmm, wonder what all this means ... Surely blogging isn't going by the wayside. I think we all just got busy and let our creativity come and go without talking about it on our blogs, what do you think?

So, are you on my blog as apposed to just reading it in a feed? If you are on my blog you can see my new header?  I'm in the process of making some changes on the blog.  I'm thinking about deleting some old unnecessary blog posts as well as doing some organizing just to freshen it up a bit.

Anyway, lets talk painting .....

Harley, 8" x 10", watercolor on Arches 140 lb cold press
© Nancy Van Blaricom
My latest commission was a portrait of this handsome Chesapeake Bay Retriever.  His name was Harley and he was as big as a Harley Davidson motorcycle, lol.  Harley was born on September 11, 2001.  Right, yes he was born on that 9/11.  Not an easy birthday to forget.  Harley's portrait was commissioned by a dear friend of Harley's owners a couple of weeks before Harley passed away. We 
decided at that time to continue on with the commission believing they would love receiving it.  

When I take on a commission I always tell those who are ordering it that I will try but there is no guarantee. Especially with a pet portrait ... they are so personal. I usually feel added pressure to make sure and catch the personality of the beloved pet, that occasionally it just doesn't come and I need to let it go. Fortunately Harley came about pretty easily after some no pressure sketching. 

I had previously taken a number of photos of Harley.  Some photos were of him where he turned his back to me ... thats what the first sketch you see is about, Harley's head from the back, just to learn some of his mannerisms.  Next I got out the watercolors and sketched him in the headshot that was picked for this commission.  Just loose brush work deciding on the values. Then, one more sketch in a sketchbook just to get the feel of where I was going to go with this.  By this time I was feeling pretty comfortable with Harley and proceeded with my painting.

Prep sketches for Harley, various sizes, © Nancy Van Blaricom
Since the owners received their portrait of Harley they have both personally thanked me and told me how much they appreciate this portrait, saying I had really captured him.  
It doesn't get better than that.

He will be missed sorely by many of those who knew him.  As big as he was, and he was a big boy, he was their baby.  R.I.P. Harley.


  1. Just beautiful, Nancy!! You should do more of these!!

  2. Welcome back! You've captured that dog's sweet expression, and the Hair is also well-handled.I still have your blog and you are on Feed also.

  3. Welcome Back!! Harley turned out great!! I usually read via a blog reader, so had to pop over and see your header. I like the simplicity of it!