Monday, December 1, 2008


Sophie ©2008 by Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • acrylic on Gessobord
SOLD • private collection, Poway, California

Here's our Sophie, in all her fauve-a-listic splendor! I didn't intend at the beginning for this painting to be so fauve-ish (i.e. wildly colorful), but somewhere along the line the subject started to demand it. She's just so ... well ... enthusiastic! I know, I know, what puppy isn't?

Here are some progress photos:

First, I sketched her in blue colored pencil, then went over my pencil sketch with ivory black. I love this preliminary sketching ... seeing what I can do with different line weights and washes:

Next, I blocked in some color glazes:

Usually at this point I go ahead get the eyes to an almost finished state, because once you get the eyes right, that's 78-93% of the battle of making a good portrait. I just made that statistic up, but it seems true for me!

Next, adding more color detail and developing the highlights and textures ... and emphasizing the outlines in a few places, just to add a little interest:

Here are some close details of the finished painting:

I love Sophie's eyes ... they're so dark that they look black most of the time. I had fun trying to hold her still long enough to see those little color flecks in them!

And now for some photos of our actual subject!

All together now - aaawwwww!

And here are some from before she grew into her Dumbo ears:

Mmmmmm ... I think this must be a Yum Yum tree!


Helen Read said...

Wonderful, Karen! I love what you've done with this portrait!

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

Thank you - I'm going to try to paint my sister's dog in a 'Karen' method - I'll let you know how it turns out!

Karen Mathison Schmidt said...

Thanks so much, Helen!

Kelley - cool! I can't wait to see what you do with the dog portrait!

Edward Burton said...

Really nice! Very cute dog.