David and I photograph several dog agility trials throughout the year. We also photograph some dog obedience and rally trials. My favorite thing to do with the action dog photos that we capture is to turn them into unique pieces of art. The process is slow but it is so rewarding! I love the creation process and the dog owner loves their new artwork.
The process starts with the best possible action photos. At Images By Janice, we use camera gear that is optimized for the low-light conditions of most indoor dog event facilities. That insures that we have high-quality, clear dog photos to start with. We then help the owner pick out the best photo from among their favorites at an event. Some action dog photos work better than others for the artwork that I create. A nice intense, focused look on the dog’s face is priceless! Also, jumping dog photos work very well. Believe it or not, even photos of the dog landing from a jump can create a really awesome piece of artwork. For example, the three photos below:
…..were all merged into this single piece of artwork (see below).
I love how the dog in the lower right corner is starting to land and it adds so much motion and energy to the final illustration.
Usually, the illustrations are made from a single dog photo. Once that action photo is chosen, I discuss with the owner what sort of style and colors they prefer. Once I have that information, the fun begins! As you can see from the dog photos above (taken at Queen City Dog Training Club in Cincinnati, Ohio), there are usually a lot of distracting things in the photos with the dog. I use photo-editing tools to help me “cut” the dog out of the original photograph. Sometimes I will leave a portion of the agility equipment, but other times I end up with nothing but the dog.
Once the dog is separated from the distractions, I move the cut-out dog to a clean white background and start painting. The painting is all done digitally and I enjoy playing with various color combinations. Sometimes, the colors are inspired by the dog’s coat color. Other times, the owner has a favorite color scheme and I will work with that. If the owner doesn’t have a preference, I am free to create whatever pops into my head. Those are usually my favorite finished pieces because my creativity is allowed free-run of the canvas. Below is one of my all-time favorites. I actually have a sample of it that I carry with me to agility trials. I enjoy the subtle lightning bolts, the hint of a rain shower, and the little splashes under the dog’s feet.