Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby! © 2011 Karen Mathison Schmidt
8 x 8 inches • oil on cradled Gessobord
private collection • Stamford, Connecticut
Here’s our Matilda with her roly-poly Mickey on one of his first outings into the yard, just like one of the big dogs. I love hound dog puppies with all their rolls upon rolls of skin and little silky, floppy ears. This was a fun painting; I used brushes on the dogs, and a painting knife on the foreground, adding layer on layer of color for the grasses.
Here are some brushwork and palette knife details:
And here are the work-in-progress pics:
First, the initial sketch in indigo acrylic, then acrylic glazes in red, magenta, green and yellow.
For unpainting the mostly orange-ish brown hounds, I decided on a complementary pthalo blue glaze, with a green glaze over it, making it turquoise-colored.
Now I start adding the oil paints; first, Matilda’s details.
I love how her mouth is just slightly open; it looks like she’s smiling. :)
In this one you can see how I smoothed out Matilda’s ear to make it look more velvety. Then I start adding Mickey’s details. I skipped a few photos in between the last photo and this one, but you can look on yesterday’s post to see all those in-between steps.
From the very beginning of painting with the oil paints, I keep the brushstrokes a little separate, allowing that blue underpainting to show through in places. You can see this especially in the close-up view of Matilda’s head (back near the top of this post).
Since the oils have a long drying time, I can go back later and blend in certain places for smooth transitions. Blending in some places and leaving the color separate in some places gives a lot of interest and gives me that illustration-y look I’m going for.
Now the dogs are done, so I start playing with the background, applying paint with a painting knife. I want a spontaneous feel in the grassy foreground, but I’m careful with the knife around the edges of the dogs because I want their outlines to remain clean.
At this point the background was giving me fits, so I wiped away almost all of it. (Being very careful wiping around those hounds!) I knew what I wanted, but for some reason I was having a hard time getting there. Then, I was concentrating so hard on trying to get the effect just right, I totally forgot to take progress pics in between.
Finally, I got it where I wanted it. Spontaneous grassy foreground, and a smooth, kind of glowing, velvety background around the doggie faces. With some suggestion of garden in the far background at the top of the painting.
OK, on to the next challenge!