This week’s submission comes from artist Hayley Cloosterman. She has painted this dog digitally in photoshop. This is SO beautifully painted and I think is a great example of why artists paint in photorealism despite the argument “why not just take a photo”. This is why! This reference photo was not very good. Most people wouldn’t blow it up and hang it on the wall, but look how amazing the artist’s painting is!!
Taking a look at a few things we can adjust to improve on this even more, the first thing that stands out to me is that the back end of the body doesn’t look separate from the head. At all. All you need to do is adjust your values there and this problem is solved!
The artist wrote: “I feel like the subject is not “grounded” enough – almost floating. I understand that this is more of a background issue, but do you have any suggestions for anchoring a subject in a portrait like this? “
This is not an uncommon issue in a pose like this. Drawing the dog in grass is one easy way to solve it because you can paint blades of grass layering over portion of the dog’s legs. Another option which is not quite as effective is to adjust the direction your dark and lights in that background go. Right now they seem to work vertically. If you adjust that to a more horizontal movement (excuse my terribly rushed photoshop job), you will adjust the perspective a bit so that it fits a bit better with the subject.