Dog portrait commision “Take One”

I recently got my first commission to paint a pet portrait, and for some reason it intimidated me a bit, to portray the character and soul of the pet in watercolor, especially when I don’t know the pupper.  I did a portrait of our Tulie dog, but this was different.

I found LOADS of other things to do of course, I can rule at procrastination without trying too hard!  but I finally determined to start and document my progress.  This is the first study.

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In preparation for the eyes, I watched two videos, one by Jake Winkle  and the other by Jean Haines .  Jake talks about making glow in the eyes (and other places) but mingling cools and warms and starting with the blue highlight of the eye (reflecting the sky) with cerulean.  Jean talks about making sure to soften the edges of the eyes, and nose for that matter, by blending out the edges with a damp brush, at least here and there, so the elements don’t look glued on top of the face.

The colors I planed to use were Quinacridone Burnt Orange and Quinacridone Burt Scarlet, Carmine, Cobalt and Indanthrone blue.  Not sure if I added others in there, but those are the mingling splotches to the right of the portrait.

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So here are the stages of progression of the portrait.  I figured I would do several studies and perhaps one would be the one the owner picks, or I may need to do more.  We’ll see how it goes.

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I don’t like the right eye, as we’re looking at it, it’s too large and doesn’t have the glow.  The other eye may be better but I’m curious to know what color the dog’s eyes are in real life, because in the photo they are blue and I’m not sure if that’s accurate.

I think as a further exercise before doing another study, I will do studies of eyes and noses randomly on a page and get the hang of the mingle of colors and the form.

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So that’s it for today’s posting.  What are you up to?  What suggestions or criticisms of the work do you have for me?  Thanks for stopping by…

One Pigment work


In our painting group we had Fernando back to show us more on doing portraits.  After completing a sketch, with his help, I transferred it to illustration board and started the first wash of very pale ultramarine blue.  It was the first time I’d worked on this board and it reacts so differently than watercolor paper.  The wash was uneven and I lost my mind for a second and went back in to fix it, and ended up streaking it.  We decided it was good practice to follow through and work on it, streaked or not.  Some people in the group thought it was cool that she was coming out of the mist…I’m not convinced!

What was an eye opener to me was actually doing a painting with just one pigment because it forces you to only concentrate on the value, or relative lightness or darkness of the section.

In the interest of learning more about values, I decided to make tiny ATC size value sketches from paintings in a book by Ron Ransom, Perfecting Your Watercolors.

I can really see how doing these sketches would be extremely useful in planning a work of my own.

Day 24 another portrait sketch

hard worked portrait of daughter #2

hard worked portrait of daughter #2

“What’s on your mind?”

That’s the prompt for this section in the blogging software I use.

Well, frankly….  I’m thinking…wow…I don’t like doing portraits!

I learned a bunch in our painting class today on how to draw faces, how to get proportions and angles, but I sure did struggle over this!  so many erasures of features and shading…she looks blotchy and doesn’t have the soft smooth skin that she has in reality.  But it does look more like her than her sister’s sketch looks like her.

Day 22 — And now for something COMPLETELY different!

portrait sketch

sketch of my older daughter

I think I mentioned that in my class and in the painting group we’re studying portrait drawing and painting this month. As long as it involves watercolor or drawing, I’m up for learning new skills although I don’t have any interest in portrait painting of humans — although there are a few dogs that I would love to paint.

Anyway, this is a sketch I’ve labored over in class with guidance from the teacher, and then erased a lot of it and worked on it more at home, and it’s much closer to what my daughter looks like, so it’s what I used on my lightbox to sketch out on watercolor paper.

So painting starts in class tomorrow, and depending on how it goes, I may show you!  can you tell I’m not hopeful??!!  Smile…