Gundog Portraits UK- Springer Spaniel Portrait
Creating a realistic springer spaniel portrait in coloured pencil, from photos. | Gundog POrtraits UK | Amy Elizabeth Fine Art | Pet Portraits
I love gundogs. As the owner of one absolutely wonderful Miniature Schnauzer, who I love to bits, but is- dare I say, slightly... Useless? I am in awe of the level of skill that highly trained gundogs hold. I remember visiting the Gundog Journal stand at Crufts 2020, and there was the most beautiful black lab lay on the ground. But she wasn't just lying about, not paying any attention to her owner. You could tell she was waiting every second for her next command, her eyes never left him.
Kennel Club records in 2019 showed the Labrador top in the gundog category with 35, 000 registrations. The cocker spaniel was next with 21,000 registrations, the springer spaniel had 8683 and the golden retriever 8422. Of all 88,829 gundog puppies registered to the Kennel Club in 2019, 8638 were English springer spaniels, making them the third most popular gundog breed in the UK last year, after the labrador and cocker spaniel.
Springer Spaniel Portrait- So why are springer spaniels so popular?
With the correct training methods and patience, they are very trainable. Not only do they make great gundogs, but their sense of smell and willingness to learn makes them highly sought after as sniffer dogs, working in bomb and explosive detection units. They are considered one of the most versatile of gundog breeds.
Springer Spaniel Portrait- Why are they a great subject for a pet portrait?
Onto my artwork. I wanted to create a piece to show off my style of artwork, that also showed off the spirit of a springer spaniel gundog. I wanted a modern style of portrait, with my classic plain white background and a highly detailed realistic style.
There is a little bit of breed favouritism in pet portraits, as different breeds of dogs can be very different to draw. I love springer spaniel pet portraits because they have very variable coats. They have the short fur on the face and then the lovely curls on the ears. Each of these areas of the dog are very different to draw.
I chose a reference photo of a spaniel with its ears blowing in the wind. I wanted my portrait to have a sense of movement in it. In the photo he is wearing a quite robust, brightly coloured collar. This shows what a difference what your dog is wearing in the reference photo makes in the final pet portrait. If you have anything you particularly want your dog to be wearing/not wearing, make sure that is the case in your photo when you commission a portrait. I quite like the effect of a nice green slip lead could have in a gundog portrait, its such a classic sign of a gundog and compliments the colouring of pretty much any type of dog.
One of the main physical features of springer spaniels are their beautiful curly haired ears. They are such a distinctive feature of the breed, in their lovely brown tones, ranging from very dark brown to caramel. In the photo I chose to create a coloured pencil pet portrait from, the ears were blowing back in the breeze, which I thought would be perfect for showing off this wonderful feature of the breed.
Whilst this piece of art is in coloured pencils, I am also a pastel pet portrait artist as well. I am now looking forward to creating a springer spaniel portrait in pastels. I think the lovely brown tones will look fantastic with the bold and strong pigments of the pastel pencils.
How do I commission a springer spaniel portrait?
If you are thinking of commissioning a portrait of your English springer spaniel or other breed of gundog, why not check out some of my artwork or get in touch. I offer pet portraits from photos, all you need is a high quality image of your pet. Alternatively you can give the gift of a pet portrait gift voucher, to the dog lover in your life. This way they choose what photo they want to use and can commission their portrait exactly as they wish. Here you can learn about the commissioning process.
If you are looking for guidance on taking a photo for a pet portrait I have a range of guides available. First stop would be my step by step guide to taking a photo for a pet portrait, featuring my dog Monty. You can also visit my other blog posts on pet photography here. If you sign up to my email list, you also receive a free guide to taking great photos of your dog.
Update- Another springer spaniel portrait to add to my collection of gundog portraits
Since writing this blog post I have completed another gundog portrait. This time a springer spaniel portrait in pastels. What do you think?