From 2005, a gallery stretched painting titled "Wilted (Taco)," a larger than lifesized portrait (24" x 28") of a beefy chihuahua. Before I became a daily painter, I often painted really, really big. I held onto this little big guy for 9 years, but he's spent the last couple in storage. I think he deserves a new home. Ask nicely, and he can be yours for rollback-to-2005 pricing of $700.
I couldn't think of a better piece to end my week of critiques than with Taco.
Because sometimes, even if we can't articulate it, a piece comes together and shocks us. These are the special ones, the "ah-ha" paintings, that we take special pride in.
So what does work here? I'll tell you:
1. Taco isn't centered, but he's firmly rooted. This guy isn't budging one bit, and the composition is structured to send that message.
2. Look at all the color here, even though he is a (mostly) white dog! The form is modeled with shifts in color, not just shifts in value. And while the color isn't quite perfectly harmonious, it works - it amplifies his solid body nicely.
3. There is variety in the brushwork that creates interest. And while there are few soft or lost edges inside Taco, the ones in the background make me very happy. And the brushwork in his furry chest? those gestures make me smile, too.
4. The ground behind his head could be a smidge lighter in value, and that would pop him forward more, but then, too, that sharp edge across his ears and the crown of his head that exists now pushes him forward as well. I'm pretty certain I wasn't thinking about atmosphere when I was painting him, so I'll let that one slide.
Thanks for indulging my critiques this week - I learned a lot myself, going back through my archives. I should practice this more often.
Enjoy your weekend!