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Tyson © Judy Lavoie


Original Acrylic on Canvas by Judy Lavoie

IMAGE SIZE: 11" x 14"

STATUS: Sold as a commission

"A beloved family dog named Tyson died and his "mom" wanted to have a painting done as a surprise for her husband. She knew their friends had done the same a few years ago for their dog Baron so they contacted me to do this special commissioned portrait.

The digital photos of Tyson which I received were all low resolution and not of the best quality, but, of course, that was all I had to work from. I decided that a shot of Tyson on a couch with the owner's little girl was the best, but, unfortunately, the dogs ears were cropped out of the photo. I knew his ears stood straight up, but the other photos didn't show them very well. In fact, in one photo Tyson was wearing party hat! I studied pit bull photos online, and I found a photo of another dog at nearly the same angle as Tyson's pose, although a different color of fur… but a definite help. I also found some photos of more detailed eyes; Tyson's eye in the profile reference photo was very dark and hard to distinguish. I've always felt the eyes are the most important part of my animal portraits, so I needed help there also. I knew I wasn't going to be able to get fine details which I like to incorporate in my animal portraits, but I could still get a good likeness.

I blended grey neutrals as the background, trying to use a medium value which would work against Tyson's white and dark brown fur. I mixed white with ultramarine blue and burnt sienna and varied the color mixture with random brush strokes. The reference photo had good shadows in the white fur, showing his muscular form in his chest, and I used some blue tones in the shaded areas. The brown fur was painted primarily with mixtures of burnt umber, raw umber, raw sienna, black, and payne's grey, with the most variety of tones on Tyson's face.

The most important part was that my painting pleased Tyson's family."

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