Today’s critique comes from artist Kevin Waldroup. He’s painted this chihuahua using acrylic paint on a 12×12″ canvas. You can watch Kevin paint this little girl here.
I’m really impressed with the work that you’ve done here because your reference photo did not make things easy on you. Your reference photo was fairly small and didn’t allow you to see much detail. The lighting on that photo was also a bit difficult to work with. You’ve done great with what you had to work with! I really love the reflection in the eyes too.
Taking a look at a few things we can adjust to improve on this piece even more. First I imported your painting and the reference photo into photoshop. I layed the reference photo over your painting and lined them up as close as possible, then outlined the original photo in green, and removed that reference photo. This allows us to see how close your drawing is to the original photo.
As you can see here, you’re VERY close on your drawing, but we still want to make sure that before we start painting that the drawing is completely accurate, otherwise it just gets harder once you start in with the paint. Her head is a bit too wide, as is her back and her nose and eye on the right are off because of this. The cool thing is that I can see with how close your drawing is that you will be great as you keep working in realism (as you said your goal was).
The other thing here was that darkened up your dark areas by a LOT. You have them started and pretty close to being in the right spots, but by darkening them up you will create more dimension in your work because of the contrast there.
For me, if a client came to me with this reference photo I would not have accepted it because I just can’t see enough detail to really capture their pet accurately. While no photo will be perfect (if it were, they would have no reason to hire us right?), I still want a clearer shot than this one was. I think you’ve done a great job here. To top it off I believe you said this was your first painting of a dog. You should be REALLY proud of yourself for creating such a great piece on your first try!