Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dog painting work-in-progress

He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds. ... He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile ...


I got a late start on this one today after working on another project this morning. I’m trying to keep him rough and loose, and so far I’m really enjoying the progress.

Here’s the underpainting, which has been sitting on the mantel in my studio for a couple of weeks, quietly reminding me to “do another dog painting, would ya?” This underpainting is a sketch in indigo acrylic, with acrylic glazes of phthalo blue, cadmium yellow light and quinacrodone rose.

Today I started with the oils. As always in a pet portrait (a pet portrait where the subject is awake, that is) I like to start with the eyes. That brings life to the painting right off, and makes it more fun to continue. Even though I’m using a small brush to get the details, I still concentrate on keeping each stroke loose, doing only one or two strokes at a time before wiping the brush and reloading with paint.

From there I kind of just work my way out and down the snout. Whenever I’m working on a dog portrait, it kind of surprises me how huge the nose actually is in proportion to the eyes. Especially on hounds and other trackers and hunters.

Although I’m trying to keep the color areas loose and kind of blocky, because of the slow drying time I still have the option to go back and blend in some areas, to get a balance between blended and blocky. That’s one of the things I love about working in oils!

When I began, I had intended on making the background mainly greens and turquoise, but now I’m kind of liking that vivid red underpainting as a main background color. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. Any thoughts?


Lynda Schumacher said...

This is beautiful, Karen.....and I think you may be right: the red tones are a great background color.

Elizabeth McCrindle said...

Yep I agree with Lynda love the red tones. Also thought the quote was beautiful. I seem to be in a teary mood these days was quite choked when I read it!

JAllgood said...

I always find it fascinating to see the progression of a painting. I love how you've kept it loose too! Thanks for sharing.

Karen M Schmidt said...

Thank you, Lynda and Elizabeth. After thinking about it, and encouraged by your input, I'm going with the reds!

Elizabeth, I can't help but tear up when I read it, too. We just love our dogs!

Hi, JAllgood, thank you for looking, I always love seeing an artist's progress photos ... figured I'd do the same, just in case someone might be interested!