Sunday, January 23, 2011

Neighborhood Watch painting complete ...

This is our big hound dog, Blue, one of our Redbone Coonhound mixes, all legs here in this picture. After a grueling 10-minute photo session, he decided it was time for a nap.

I must mention that the grueling 10 minutes consisted of 9 minutes and 58 seconds of him sniffing around the coffee table to see if someone might have left something worth chewing on, jumping up on the sofa, trying to lick the camera lens, running out to the back yard to see what Matilda and Sophie were barking at, running back in, taking a five-minute water break, rolling around scratching his back on the rug, and, FINALLY, glancing out the window for 2 seconds, just long enough for me to get a quick reference photo for this painting.

Neighborhood Watch III © 2011 Karen Mathison Schmidt
8 x 10 inches • oil on 1 inch cradled Gessobord

SOLD • private collection • Jacksonville, Floriday

Here are the work-in-progress photos:

I started with my underpainting in acrylic, using mainly indigo, cadmium yellow light and cadmium orange:

Next, an overall acrylic glaze of purple and magenta; I kept the glaze on the window area light, because I wanted those bright undertones there in the finished painting:

After the underpainting is completely dry (this only takes a few minutes with acrylic) I start painting with the oils. I really had to make myself slow down and made a decision about each stroke before I even put the brush to the board. With acrylics, I usually start with dark colors and work my way to light, but in this oil painting I decided at the beginning where the light areas would be and sketched them in first.

As the painting developed, I made specific decisions about where I would let the underpainting show through, in some places more than others, and where I would enhance the sketch lines, to give the painting that "illustration" feel. Making some lines heavy and other very thin, it adds interest and balance to the overall picture. Whenever I had the feeling that I really liked the way an area looked, I did my best to leave it alone while I finished other areas. For example, I really liked the angular feel of his doggy nose from the beginning, so I did very little to that area throughout the painting process.

If I feel I’m getting too caught up in little details, I switch to a different area for a few minutes; this helps me not too “overwork” the painting. The close the painting gets to being finished, the more often I step back for an overall look.


Virginia Floyd said...

Thanks for sharing your process. It's very interesting....I had no idea how you achieve all those beautiful layers of color.

Elizabeth McCrindle said...

If I didn't know the real story behind this stunning painting I'd think this was a finely honed guard dog instead of a kiss you until you give in one :)

Ruth Andre said...

Great show of colors in this portrait. I can almost see how tired Blue is getting in the photo. So cute.

Denise Rose said...

Fabulous! I didn't know you were using oils too now? I thought you just were using acrylics all the way through. Is this new or have I just been missing something? Love it!

Karen M Schmidt said...

Virginia, I’m glad you like it! I always like seeing other artists’ work in progress, so I try to make myself stop to take a photo now and then during my painting.

Elizabeth, ha ha ha ... now you know our secret. Our dogs do put on a good show, but they're really just big sweetie pies!

Ruth, thank you for your comment! Yeah, he was wearing himself out, but then again he always kind of has that sleepy-eyed look. Just adds to his charm!

Hi Denise, thanks! Yes, I have been using acrylics almost exclusively for the last 3 years or so, but recently decided to get back to oils. I plan to keep on doing acrylic paintings as well, though. The mediums are so different; each has its advantages and disadvantages. Maybe I'm a little ambitious, but I want to get good at both!