After lots of procrastinating I’m finally working on the pet portrait I’ve been planning on doing for a month or so.
I can’t remember the last time I painted a dog in watercolour (probably over 10 years ago!!) so I’m not expecting this one to be perfect but you can’t get better unless you practice the things you’re not comfortable with.
My source material isn’t perfect (start of the pre-emptive excuses lol) as it is a home printout which is only about 4” square, so I’m looking at this as a challenge on all fronts.
I prepared by doing a couple of sketches, first very loose and then slightly more detailed. Neither was perfect but that was ok as I just wanted to get a feel for the shapes rather than create a masterpiece.
Once I had the general layout on the paper I started drawing in the fur in progressively dark blues taking care to follow the flow of the fur… I’m working first on the black fur as I’m going to have to be a little more creative in expressing the white fur. I’m going to have to correct the right eye on my next sitting as it’s far wider than the left. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem and I left the details like the eyes until last so that I could make slight adjustments to their orientation as sometimes I find it’s easier to see that I’ve got it wrong after I’ve worked on the painting a bit and if I’ve already invested a lot of time to the details there’s nothing I can do to fix it.
Once I was generally happy with the black fur direction I placed a wash over some of the areas to darken them up and I placed a very light green base wash on the background.
In my next sitting I will be placing a second wash on the background, correcting the right eye and working more detail into the black fur. At the moment I think that I may have made the head slightly too squashed but I’m going to keep working and see what happens. I often don’t like my work at this stage so I’m getting used to pushing through the self doubt and hoping for the best.
I’m already thinking of the next couple of paintings I want to work on and am going to start working on preliminary sketches for both soon. I’ve found working on a portrait from a photo quite restrictive so my next too paintings will be far more in the realms of plopping things straight from my head onto the paper.