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Acrylic on Canvas, 18" x 18"
Portfolios: August 2014 Curator Reviewed Art, Pet Portraits
Location: Perth, Western Australia
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As an artist who sometimes paints animals, I’m particularly taken in by the forthright nature of these dog portraits which appear sweet, but never digress into caricature, or overly sentimental renderings. It’s a tough balance to strike when dealing with the subject matter. I’m most impressed by Knuckles-Staffy for its push of local color and perspective. The deep violet hues in the black nose and shadows of the fur convey a velvety softness, while the thin wash of an analogous hue grounds the dog’s cast shadow. The full frontal pose and tight cropping of the picture plane also communicates a confident breed and charismatic character. Formally, it creates an enticing composition and surprising color shift as the large dark subject is paired with a proportionally smaller turquoise ground. The earnestness of the animal’s expression brings empathy and emotion to the piece. Arthur- Fawn Great Dane is another noteworthy painting in its departure from straight depiction or illustration of the subject. The intense red ground in some ways diminishes the stature of the breed, and makes the viewer consider individual facial expression rather than obvious size. While there is a certain flatness to the painting brought about by this high chroma color choice, the variation in line and mid-range values stops the work from becoming completely graphic, where subtlety is traded for explicit impact.
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