This painting marks the second commission that I've done for Dave, both gifts for his wife Melanie. Dave & Melanie are another lovely couple that I've had the pleasure of working with. To date, this is one of the most difficult projects that I've ever attempted. It wouldn't have been possible without everything I learned from painting Don & Paul in a previous commission. Thankfully I was able to complete these two works back to back. They served as a great learning experience and a good jumping off point for one another.
 Using stencils, I've laid out my basic blocks of colour. You can see that I've done a little freehanded spray painting (spray painting done without the use of a stencil) to fill in texture and capture definition.
 Here I've added my first layer of detail. You can see the definition start to form in the dogs and the grass.
 Now I've added the second layer of detail.
 Here is the painting with the third layer of detail.
 Once I've painted all of the stencils I take a look at the painting and compare it to the original phoptograph. What stands out to me is how vibrant the painting is. It needs to be more subdued. The dogs need to be better blended into the grass and the painting needs to be less static. After all, the original photograph is an action shot of two rambunctious dogs playing. I wanted the painting to capture the emotion and action and movement of that photograph.
 In this image you can see that I've started to blend the dogs into their environment. I did this by layering layers upon layers of spray paint through painting freehanded and by re-layering and repainting certain parts of the stencils that I previously sprayed in images 1-4.
  In this side by side comparison you can see the final version of the painting next to the original photograph. I'm ecstatic with how everything turned out. These were by far some of the most intricate and time consuming stencils that I've ever cut. I love how photo realistic I was able to get the painting.
Why listen to what I thought about the piece when you can hear it right from Melanie?! Here's the little note she sent after receiving the piece from her husband Dave as a surprise Christmas gift. She had no idea! He even concocted a story for when he picked up the piece at my studio while she waited in the car!
I just wanted to thank you so much for the beautiful painting of my lovely, rotten, baby dogs :) I couldn't stop crying Christmas morning. It is absolutely perfect! I took the original picture and you captured the moment (and movement) beautifully. Their eyes are even just as crazy in the painting as they are in real life! The stick game is their favourite game to this day. I couldn't be happier :) I can't believe that you and David managed to top last year's gift...and my dogs are close to the only things that could do it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.