Thursday, January 8, 2015

Layla Among the Stars

Layla is a pit-bull/dalmatian mix who was adopted by a friend of mine. She's an incredibly sweet dog and I wanted to make a keepsake for my friend for the holiday. Being a classic rock fan, he named her after the Derek and the Dominoes tune. The reference wasn't lost on me, but as an amateur bellydancer and fan of Arabic music, my own mind went to songs like "Laylet Hob" ("Love Night") and "Auf Layla Wa Layla" ("A Thousand and One Nights"). That's where the stellar theme originated and why I decided upon using the Middle Eastern-inspired frame.

This is the reference photo which I used for the portrait. It was taken with my cell phone so it's not spectacular in quality, but it sufficed. I decided to change the angle of her neck to suit the composition.

Here she is carved and her name pyrographed into the lower banner:


The leather stains were applied to lay in some base shading and coloration:


Acrylic paints were layered over the stain to add highlights and more prominent color (although you cannot see in the photo, some metallic gold was added for the stars and to accent her name):


An acrylic resolene finish was added to provide some protection and seal the piece. It ended up a little more glossy than I had anticipated. The higher gloss finish really upped the contrast and allows some of the more delicate sculpted details to catch the light:


This is the completed ornament with the leather cameo layered over felt and embellished with bead and thread embroidery. Three little sequin stars are sewn near the top to continue the stellar theme:


I really enjoyed creating this ornament, and I'm considering offering the occasional custom pet portrait in the future via my Etsy shop. Would anyone be interested if I presented the option for pet portraits similar to this piece and the one I previously did of the thoroughbred Tully? I would probably set it up where an initial deposit would be due to get the project started and then the remainder would be due upon completion.

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