Wednesday, 21 March 2012

A portrait from the sketchbook

This is a study from my sketchbook, roughly A4 in size.  Although quite rough, and unfinished it was one that I really enjoyed drawing, and I was pleased with the end result.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

"Nancy" Beautiful Spaniel Portrait

"Nancy"  Watercolour 16"x12" Commission - Copyright Marion Simkins 2012
I have gone into much more detail in the finishing stages, and to be honest this part of the painting is always the most enjoyable.  I put some deeper washes onto her collar, avoiding the highlights, and kept adding tones into the fur on her chest, until I felt it was right.  Some deeper glazes were laid into her ears, and the side of her face.  I just love painting the eyes and nose,  making them appear moist and wet really brings the portrait to life and hopefully will capture Nancy's personality.   The final touches were just to add the whiskers and all finished.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Laying the first glazes in a watercolour pet portrait of Nancy

You would never believe, from her regal pose, that Nancy is almost 13 years old!  She was a perfect model, and sat patiently while I photographed her, resulting in a great photo that had all the detail I needed to try and capture her personality.  I have posted the first stages of painting Nancy's portrait, and will update shortly with some more pictures of the painting in progress.

 I am positive, that seeing the portrait at this early stage would put most people off from commissioning a portrait.  It is definitely an ugly stage (no reflection on Nancy) and so colourful, that it is hard to imagine the final image.

But colour is so relative to it's surrounding, that as successive washes are deepened and laid on top, you would never know that these vibrant colours are underneath, adding depth and an inner glow.
 Not too much has happened here, just laid in the first wash for the collar, worked on the nose and painted  masking fluid onto the chest where I want the fur to remain white.  A good tip when using masking fluid is to wet the brush first with water, then work it into a good lather on a bar of soap before dipping into the masking fluid.  I find that I can wipe the brush onto some kitchen towel before rinsing, and it's practically as good as new.  Though I would always recommend using an old brush, as you don't want to risk ruining an expensive one.  Remember not to use the rinse water for painting, as some of the masking fluid could contaminate the water.  Alternatively, you can use the rubber pastel shapers instead.
 I love painting the eyes.  Probably taking more time over the detail here than on any other feature.  It is so important, because they really do reflect character and personality.  There is a lot of truth in the expression "eyes are the windows to the soul".
I tend to work on different areas of the portrait at the same time.  Here I am building up the darker tones in the ears and against the side of Nancy's face.  I never use black or paynes grey in watercolour, preferring to mix burnt sienna and french ultramarine blue, sometimes adding a touch of magenta, which I can bias to a warm or cool dark.  Black in a painting can deaden and flatten the picture, which is definitely worth avoiding.

Be back soon!