Oil on sapele mahogany board
h: 64 w: 79 (cms).
Despite the realistic illusion and though based on a yearly event in my church (The American Cathedral in Paris), "The Blessing of the Animals" is not a rendition of what I have seen, but rather is drawn from 26 years of my own source material. That includes three of my pets who have passed on but are still alive in my painting, plus pets seen on my travels, owned by friends and family, or participants from actual Blessings. There are also family members, friends, and cathedral clergy and members. Starting with gestural drawings, I spent about a year working out the composition, completing the final line drawing and transferring it to a prepared sapele mahogany board. Utilizing Old Masters' techniques including grinding my own paints, I started with a burnt umber underpainting, followed by three layers of color and some scumbling and glazing at the end. This oil painting was created entirely freehand with no mechanical means and was eight years in the making.