Merging Two Photo References into One Painting

I have been taking an exercise class twice a week for the past couple of months and believe me I have to DRAG myself there, but the reason I keep going back is that the teacher is a gem. She earned her graduate degree in exercise physiology and was a physical therapist for many years. Encylopedic knowledge of the body. And she makes this FUN!

The extra bonus for me is that she brings her two dogs!  OMG, they are gorgeous and perfectly behaved and well, being the animal lover that I am, I just swoon over these gorgeous pups. Lucy and Ricky, two girls.

So, was I downcast to hear that Mary was retiring and we only had a few weeks left with her amazing spirit. So, a potluck is planned and I really wanted to paint a picture of her dogs as a going away and thank you present.

First I took a bunch of pictures before and after class, and culled out the best.
rikki dog reference photos for new painting

lucy dog reference photos for new painting
dog reference photos for painting

Next I sketched the individual pictures in my vintage journal.
Waterproof ink brush pen. Watercolor.

initial sketches for dog painting using photo references

initial sketches for dog painting using photo references

Next I put two images together as I knew that I would be merging two photos for the final painting. Ink and gesso.

sketch of two dogs from two photo references in preparation for final painting

Now for the final....

I opened up Photoshop (there are other programs and apps you can use, too. Look for one that removes background). But I know Photoshop in my sleep so that's my tool of choice. I first cut out each picture from its background. Then I merged the two images into one square format.

merging two photo references into one image for painting in photoshop

With the two images on separate layers I can each one this way and that until it feels and looks right in the final canvas shape, which for me is a square. And I have room in upper right corner to add their names.....I'll figure that out later.

Now I can proceed and sketch this final composition on my canvas, and away I go!

BTW - a low tech but perfectly fine solution is to print your images to size, cut them out, and move them around til just right, and for heaven's sake when you've got it the way you want it, just glue stick them down to a larger piece of paper. Same end result. No need to be techy about it. Get to painting!

Stay tuned for final.

Blessings and Paint On!


romani said…
great idea,I love these dogs
joanieART said…
Thanks, Romani. Oh yeah, the sweetest most adorable well-behaved pups. xo