Dog Days of Summer

charley_commission_rachel_murphree_watercolors

Hello Folks, This is Charley!  He’s my first watercolor commission and I’ve written about making the first study at painting him earlier this summer.  It’s been quite the dog days for me, we’re in triple digits here since what seems like forever.  I’ve had to work on plenty of other obligations and haven’t had much time to paint.  As I was working on painting this sweet dog in the quiet of my house this morning, I realized just how much I’d missed painting (and perhaps that’s why I’ve been a bit crabby lately….I’m just sayin!)

Since the first study, I’ve met Charley and the other pets in his house, I’ve been painting eyes and noses, and then working on several other studies. charley_photo_refHis human sent me some other photos, here’s one which show his colors more clearly than the brightly lit one I was working from. So my sketch was from the earlier photo, but I used the colors from this.   Don’t you just love the eyes of the older sweetie behind him?  I kept getting drawn into the sweet elderly face!

I thought it might be helpful to show you the steps that led up to the current painting.  I’m not sure it’s the final one…we’ll have to see what his humans say, but I can always learn more by painting another one!  To begin with I did some sketching:

and then did studies of eyes and noses:

Don’t the noses look like flying aliens??  they crack me up.

charley_dog_boosted pencil sketch_rachel_murphree

Then I took the image and put it through the “pencil sketch” effect in picasa web and boosted the contrast to get nice dark lines.

I put it on my light table with a piece of 140 lb Arches paper on topcharley dog on lightbox_rachel_murphree and the dark lines showed through.

You can see it here but the lines weren’t quite that dark, I enhanced the charley after light table_rachel_murphreecontrast so you could see them.  It turns out that i didn’t need all those extra lines of the hair, because that’s more naturally done by just playing with the paint.  in future tracings I only did the nose eyes and mouth.

In researching how to do the painting,  I watched two watercolor technique videos which were very helpful:  Watercolor Secrets: Realistic Pets with Carrie Stuart Parks and Jake Winkle’s Going Wild in Watercolor.  Of the two, I find Jake’s style bold and invigorating and that showed in the first study, but I like the more realistic view with techniques taught by Carrie.

charley_in process_rachel_murphree_watercolorsSo here’s an in process stage where I had wet the right side cautiously over top of the underpainting soft colors with no hard edges,  and added extra color and fur brush strokes.  After this I did the same on the left side and then started adjusting details and adding whiskers.

So that’s what I’ve been doing in the dog days of summer.  How about you?  What have you been up to?  Have you painted dogs? if so, what tips can you share?

Thanks for stopping by.  I’ll let you know what Charley’s humans have to say…

 

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13 thoughts on “Dog Days of Summer

  1. Welldone, he is a cutie…all that hair 😀Commissions are so difficult, capturing the personality, the right colour of the pet, I try not to do them if I can help it ( the stress). I love both the videos, Carrie Stuart parks and Jake winkle’s, so very inspirational. After watching a you tube clip by Carrie, I saw she used a pot of white paint to touch up the eye…..what was it? I froze the video on pause, zoomed in, but no name on the pot, grrrrr, so I searched the Internet, and I am quite sue it was dr ph Martin bleed proof white, if it wasn’t that, I really don’t care, as I have now found the best stuff for grabbing back the whites I have lost, for highlights in hair, whiskers, and of course the white tiny bits in the eye, or wet highlight on the nose, it is better than white gouache, and 100 X better than WC white. Highly recommend ❤️❤️❤️

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      • I used to use white gouache, but this little pot is a gem to me, it really covers well, so great for mistakes!! But because it is quite fluid, and can easily take the addition of extra water, I find it brilliant for animal whiskers, if you ever stumble upon it I can highly recommend 😀

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  2. Pingback: Charley finished! — 30 in 30 day 13 | Rachel Murphree Watercolors

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