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  • Writer's pictureKevin Roeckl

"Gwen & Kent" portrait in progress 10

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

Putting in a few more flowers and leaves around Gwen. I have to work carefully around her outline and Kent’s head. Then I’ll go fast n’ loose with bigger and bigger scribbly strokes as I go outward. 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. (Of course I could make them up, I’m capable of that.)

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

  • Another reason 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”.
Portrait of dog show handler Gwen and Doberman Kent
(I’m working from a reference photo of Gwen and Kent by Gay Glazbrook)

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