Portrait Marathon Update: Celeste

Oh my goodness!  This one is a challenge!  A stripy dog lying in stripy sunlight.  *sigh*  I always say I should charge twice for brindles!  (But I don’t!)
Look at this lovely photo:

Here’s my sketch to work out an even more dramatic lighting (going back to my comic book coloring roots, here!) 
And here’s where we’re at so far. 
Well, gotta get back to it!  Wish  me luck.  

Portrait Marathon: Updates-Show is Done

Oh, I like this one!  So soft and silky-looking.  Here’s Show, all sleepy and comfy.

What do you think?  Want to just curl up with him (I do!)

That came out very small and fuzzy.  Hm!

Well, here’s a little detail of the eye area, just ’cause.

On to the next portrait: Laura’s Celeste.

Portrait Marathon: Updates

Yesterday was all about organizing sign-ups, collecting pictures, responding to questions, and prepping canvasses.  This morning, I got down to the fun business of actually painting.  Cara-Lea’s Show is first up.

He’s in the Blue Phase right now.  That’s where I do an underpainting in shades of blue, that looks kind of like a black-and-white photo, but blue, instead.  It gets the shadows set, and cool, allowing the translucent layers that go on top to be warmer, and mimics the way light passes through, or reflects of objects in real life.  This is what Show looks like, at the moment.

I always kind of like this phase.  Sometimes I don’t want to do anything more to it!  When I showed H this morning, he said, “Yeah, just put a coat of gloss on it, and call it done.”  I suggested I could do a whole series; my Blue Period.  (We just saw a Picasso exhibit last week.)  The last time I did a portrait marathon, I actually kept Robin’s Treasure in that phase, and started over to make one for Robin!

I can see I need to put more deep shadow around the closer eye, and deepen the shadows along the near side of the muzzle as well.  Doesn’t do to be timid!

Okay, back to work!

Portrait Marathon Sign-ups are …….

Xan’s Portrait Marathon. n.  An event during which an artist or artists produce portraits in a concentrated fashion over a set period of time.  Participants submit photos for reference, and agree to purchase the finished portrait at a set price.  Great fun for all!  Fabulous gifts!

Here are the details:

This marathon will be a series of 10 (with the possibility of more, if I’m up to it) acrylic paintings on 5″ square canvasses, gallery wrapped around 11/2” deep sides for easy, frame-optional display.  Because of the size, these will all be head-shots, to allow for detail and expression.

If you submit a photo (instructions to follow!), you agree to buy the portrait for $70 + shipping.  Payment, by PayPal, to be complete before I can start work on your portrait.

I will go in the order photos are submitted, and that payment is completed.


  1. Choose ONE photo, clear and high-res, of any ONE pet (dog, cat, hamster, ferret …), attach it to an email.  (tip: If you have a really big photo file, but it’s of the entire pet, crop it down to just the head, down to the shoulders.)
  2. The email should have your name and your pet’s name as the subject.  
  3. Send the email to xan@xans-art.com with 
    • your name and your pet’s name
    • any notes about your pet you want me to know, to help me choose a mood for the painting

subject: Humphrey Blackburn; Wabi
message: Hi, Xan!

Wabi is a little thing, mischievous and cuddly. Her favorite thing to do is eat dandelions.  Attached is her photograph.  Can you put some dandelions in the painting, maybe?


When I get close to finishing one, I’ll send the next person an email with a paypal invoice.  When it’s paid, I’ll start work on that one, and so on!  If there’s a delay in payment, I’ll skip over to the next one.  If the delayed invoice is paid, I’ll do that one next.

****Oops!  Well, like a doofus, I’ve been sending out the paypal link when I acknowledged each arriving photo!  *rolling eyes at self*  You can hold off paying them ’til I ping you, or go ahead and pay them right off.  Either way works.  Main thing is, I can’t start painting ’til the payment goes through.

I know lots of you have more than one pet you’d like done.  I want to be fair, so I think we’ll do this as one to a customer.  Heck, some of you have 10 pets!  That could take up the whole marathon right there!  LOL!
Sign-ups are now …..
Wait for it  ……

Portrait Marathon: Sign ups imminent. This is a test!

I’m testing to see if people can upload their pictures here as comments.  Let’s see ….

Testing with Mylie, who “posed” for my Better Days show a few years ago.

Want to see what Mylie’s portrait came out like?

Mylie, NOT in a shelter!
(The Better Day show was a series of portraits of dogs awaiting homes in a shelter in my town.  Many of them were not lucky.  🙁  The show concept was to imagine them in Better Days.  Mylie, by the way, did find a home.  😀 )
This portrait is a good example of the approach I’ll be taking to this marathon, and the level of detail I expect to go for.

Cara-Lea, thanks for helping out with the testing!
Here’s your pretty friend:

Sign-ups are not open, yet!  No need to try to post any pictures for the moment.  Full instructions will be in the next post, along with the announcement, so ….
Keep your eyes peeled!  ;D