A drawing of a very special lab

My Cutest Photo Ever Contest that I held in June brought in a lot of really sweet photos. But the story behind the runner-up winning picture was hard to beat:

This is Cody, he was a therapy dog and worked in seniors homes and the children’s hospitals, and he was my Dad’s best friend until he passed away last year. We all miss him, but dad still hasn’t shaken the depression over losing him. I’d love to win this contest for my dad and have Melody create something beautiful to Cody’s memory!

Unbeatable, right?! My aunt said to me, “I just read the caption under Cody’s picture. GEEESH. How can anyone compete with that! I’d even cast my vote for Cody. How can you control those poignant and heartrending stories? I feel like paying you to draw him, just for the dad.” So, thank goodness he was one of the winners! Something would have been seriously amiss if he hadn’t won.

Arlene approached me after the contest to discuss the possibility of also drawing Pal, her Dad’s new puppy, so that the two drawings could be framed as a diptych. Apparently Pal looks a lot like Cody did as a pup.  What cuties they both were to draw! And how well the two portraits work, side by side (if I do say so myself…)

mstarkweather_cody mstarkweather_pal

The photo of Pal was pretty straight-forward to draw. the peeling paint on the decking was time-consuming, but Arlene provided me with really nice photographs from which to work. However, the photo of Cody that won my contest was cropped fairly close to the face, and the plan was to make it work with the corresponding picture of the puppy – a full-body shot. Arlene had sent me a few photos of Cody to work with, that were all taken the same day, and some of which showed more of his chest and lower body. This drawing actually ended up being a combination of two photos. I drew his body from one picture, and his face from another. Thankfully, with identical lighting and location, I was able to simply transpose the face from one image to the other.

I’m happy with the results, and so is Arlene. As a total aside, she is a lovely woman and so very deserving of the prize, especially since she is giving both drawings to her Dad. (If you know him, please do not mention the drawings until after Christmas!) Arlene’s very heartfelt words about the drawings are on my Testimonials Page.

I’m also updating my Etsy Page (here) with each new piece as I create them. Please do have a peek and feel free to add my shop as a favourite!

Another portrait as wedding gift coming up, which I will be posting after next weekend…

Thanks for reading. :)

xo melody

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