I Belong With My Brother – A Commission for Sarah

The time I have for commissions this year is sadly limited, but for the very best reasons. My show schedule is eating up my painting time. So each commission I do get is like a special treasure to be savored and loved and cherished.

Commissions are my life blood. They give me fresh energy, open me to new ideas and really feel like the best kind of collaboration.

I sadly painted the wrong dwarf for Sarah, and you can read about that here. This time, I painted the right dwarf and the experience was awesome.


I start with fairly precise drawings for each painting. Not always complete, because I like a challenge when I’m painting, but complete enough to ensure I capture a likeness. Eye shape, nose position and mouth shape and size all matter more than you think. Get the eyebrows wrong? It’s a shit show. Angle of jaw off? Might as well just stop painting.


I really, really wanted to make sure that Fili was captured properly, so I started with the black layer. It’s an anchor layer in so many ways, ensuring that the important pieces are in place and ready for the more subtle layers of colour. And if the composition is strong, the painting mostly stays in visual balance from that point on.


Adding colours here added depth. They were outside in a market in this scene, so hints of blues and greens worked well here.


I missed photographing the yellow layer somehow. Just imagine it. Sometimes my enthusiasm for painting gets in the way of documenting each step. Oops!


At this point I had added in the reds and oranges and other colours to give this painting depth. But you know what’s missing? The eyes. Sometimes I start with them, sometimes I finish with them. It’s kind of like a little game with me. Change things up to keep things interesting.


Eyes and details going in place. See how important it is to go back and nail the little things in place? So damn important.


“I Belong With My Brother”


Acrylic on canvas

The original has sold, but there are prints available.


So what’s next? I’ve got Toronto ComicCon to prep for. I’ve got a couple of painting commissions to get done. And between all that? I’m PAINTING!