Firstly, I ask my clients to send me a selection photographs. I print them out and usually spend a few days looking at them to get an idea on how I will approach the painting and to choose which shot I think will work best.
I never try to achieve a photographic image, I am looking to create a character through art.
I was lucky enough to meet Molly at the Charlwood Music Festival. You could not get a more gorgeous and gentle 'Sproodle'.
I took several photographs myself and of course meeting her gave me an insight to her personality, she is a dark salt and pepper colour with a hint of brown in places. The beautiful summer sun highlighted her coat which allowed me to paint a dark dog in a light manner and pick out the colours I saw in her. I traditionally never use black paint so I create darks by mixing my paints and I use the white of the paper for the lights.
I think patience is the key... I never rush a portrait!