Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Spaniel portrait - fifth and final stage

Finally this is the finished portrait.  Quite a lot has happened since the last update.  I have been working and re-working some areas, building tone and depth, adjusting some colours.  In particular the tummy, which is actually quite green in the photograph when you isolate the colour - a reflection from the grass.
My intention had been to take some more progress photos, but once you start painting it is easy to get carried away and lose all track of time.

I'll keep it in mind for next time.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Spaniel portrait - stage four

I previously painted masking fluid into the fur, this preserves the white of the paper and allows me to paint washes freely.  A good tip when using masking fluid, is to wet the paintbrush and rub the bristles into a bar of soap.  This helps to stop the masking fluid clogging up the bristles quite so quickly.  When it does start to build up, just rinse and re-apply the soap before painting with the masking fluid again.

As I paint the fur on the body, and the top layers on the head, I am looking for tones within the fur, and adjust the colours accordingly.  I place touches of burnt sienna, quinacridone magenta with a little french ultramarine in areas to add depth. It is fascinating how colour is relative to whatever is surrounding it.  Now the darker washes are on, the initial glazes of red, blue and yellow that looked so garish at first, pale by comparison.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Spaniel portrait - stage three

I have been working on the eyes nose and head.  I never use pure black, but mix ultramarine blue and burnt sienna which makes a more transparent black which I can bias warmer or cooler depending on which part I am painting. Gradually I deepen the colour on the head and ears using burnt sienna with a touch of magenta and a touch of french ultramarine where in the darker areas, bearing in mind that the final top layer of fur that I am working up to is a lot darker, so this "undercoat" so to speak, will be the foundation, and will shine through any further layers of paint placed on top.  That is the beauty of transparent watercolour.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Spaniel portrait - stage two

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This stage can look a little scary.  I am building the foundation for the subsequent layers of paint to go on top.  I normally use the three primaries, french ultramarine, quinacridone magenta and raw sienna.

I paint raw sienna into the grass, so that when I eventually paint the green on top, the yellow base colour will shine through.  It also helps to unify both the dog and the ground, keeping them connected.

The eyes are a little frightening, but once the darks go on, the colours which look so bright now, just seem to fade.

Be back soon.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Spaniel Portrait

It has been a very busy few weeks but eventually here are some photo's of what I have been doing.  

This was a full body portrait of a Spaniel named Chester.  I never rush the drawing stage because once the paint starts to flow, the more information (detail) that I have to guide the initial washes the better.  

I draw slightly differently for a painting than  a pencil drawing for it's own sake.  I roughly mark in, very lightly, any changes in tone and shade, which can make the initial drawing appear a little strange, but again these are only to guide me in the early stages and once the tones are added they can be carefully rubbed away.