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  • Writer's pictureKevin Roeckl

"Gwen & Kent" portrait finished!

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

A big thank-you to photographer Gay Glazbrook for a great reference photo to work from. In the original photo there were five tall, thin, palm-tree trunks in the background. All those vertical stripes were distracting so I took them out. Added a bit to both sides of the scene, but other than that, it’s exactly what Gay captured in the shot.

In my previous post I explained why the edges of the scene are done loose and scribbly instead of the tight detail of the figures and the center of the scene. The explanation is below in case you missed it.

Fine art portrait of professional dog show handler Gwen DeMilta and Doberman Kent, in colored pencil

This portrait was commissioned for Gwen DeMilta as a surprise Christmas gift by a friend. The artwork was given to Gwen in 2020 and she was very pleased with it.

Do you wonder why I work so tight and detailed on the portrait, and then get loose and scribbly as I work outward? There are several reasons for this portrait.
  • One is because the reference photo didn’t show as much of the scene as I included in the artwork — I don’t have those details to refer to.

  • Another is because it adds more to the cost of a portrait when I fill every square inch with painstaking detail.

  • Another is that keeping the edges of the scene loose and foggy keeps attention centered on the figures.

  • And finally, here is a reason that applies to all of my work, not just this portrait: People often say my finished work “looks just like a photo”. People mean that as a compliment. But an artist doesn’t want their work to look JUST like a photo. Anybody with a camera can take a photo. Artists want their original creation to look like MORE than what a camera can do. They want it to look like it came from the hand of the artist. So a final reason to make the edges of the work loose and scribbly, with strokes that can only be made by my hand, no one else’s, is that it won’t look like a photo….it will look like an original work of art.

That is what makes this portrait “a Roeckl”.


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