Paintings With Soul

Since October 2006 I've been a daily painter, creating a new pet portrait at least 5 times per week. Over the years I've expanded my offerings to include a variety of animals, pets, race horses, children and other treasured heirlooms. In addition, I accept a limited number of commissions each year.

In 2015 I am honored to be the Kentucky Derby Artist.

You may use the links below right to receive my daily paintings via email or to follow my blog with a feed. I post additional info, including in-process jpgs and other related information, on the studio Facebook page as well.

Meanwhile, thanks
so much for your continued support of my artwork.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Attitude, A Lesson Painting

It seems to have been awhile since I shared the progress of a painting, and given that tonite I demo-ed for the Shelby Township Fine Art Society (who were wonderfully gracious and attentive and a generally fantastic group, thank you), I thought I might review the process of how I approach the creation of a portrait (how's THAT for a run-on sentence?!).

At the very beginning, I reduce my subject matter to planes and basic shapes. Using a round brush, I roughly indicate their placement on the board (you can faintly see some of the marks in the ragdoll's body and face), and moving to a larger flat brush, I start to lay in blocks of color. I tend to use arbitrary color at this stage, just because I can and it's more visually exciting and these bold colors create a little bit of dance or vibration when peeking through the subsequent layers of paint.

I also try to get my values correct here because I can assess whether the composition works - if it is a strong abstraction at this point (without any supporting details), then I know it'll be a successful assembly of parts at the end.

Next I refine the shapes with a careful redrawing - you can see that here I've mainly focused on Mickey (the foreground kitty), identifying the shape of his eyes and pulling a personality packed expression out of the purple mass that was in the prior stage.

I've laid a couple translucent glazes over the background too, glazes that are relatively similar in color, but allow the yellow wall (Cad Yellow Light) and orange floor (Cad Red Light) to peek through.

I've also softened the planes in Iris (the rear kitty), already building up a sense of depth to her fur.

None of my edges are hard - they may read so on the computer screen, but everything is soft. I will save the creation of hard edges for the very end (then I don't have to worry about preserving them now).

Carrying the same sort of sensibility to Iris that Mickey got, I begin layering washes of color across her face and body. My brushwork mirrors the direction of the cats' fur, and I am continuing to use large marks (ie big brushes). I am not worried about rendering individual hairs at this point, but moreover trying to model the basic form of the animals.
And here is where I stopped, for my lips were flapping away and we simply ran out of time to take the painting any further. But there was a great question and answer session and excellent jam filled thumbprint cookies, in case you were interested.
I am eager to pick up the brushes tomorrow and get back into this one. Stay tuned!
Thanks, as always, for looking at - and sharing - my artwork with your friends and family.
READING MATERIAL: Preview and order each of the Dog a Day books at the publisher's website: The First Year (2006-2007) and That's 14 in Dog Years (2008). If you would like your copy personalized, order them through me.

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