Chris' greyhound, Cash, at age 10, is on her second life! That's pretty good for a spooky grey, I'd say! She had a bad reaction to routine shots, actually died, but was brought back to life - a modern-day miracle! And, a gorgeous, blue-brindle gal, to boot.
Cash's portrait is painted on a canvas panel, which is a very big switch from the much smoother Aquabord panel I used on Red's portrait, right before this one. The rougher texture was a nice change, though it makes getting good pictures tricky. Let's see how we got to stage: Done!
Starting with this reference photo ...
Once my drawing was ready, I dove in with Payne's gray for the underpainting.
This is where I left it last night, with some serious tweaks, and lots of fine-tuning to do, but generally close. Notice the lighting changes between this and the final version, especially on the right side of her face.
I cropped, played with the lighting a little, made the bed a little more luxurious, but removed the pattern that I felt would compete with Cash's subtle stripes.
The underpainting is well under way, here.
Unfortunately, the photos I attempted of the early color phases just did not come out at all, so you'll have to content yourselves with a big jump here.
Wow. Well, once I got rolling, this just went like a flash! Isn’t it funny, ha ha, that the painting part of this portrait actually went quickly, but all the hair-pulling, sketching, sighing and laying in bed at night imagining the painting took days! I should be used to that, but there ya go.
I have to show you some details, as I really enjoy how there’s both opaque and translucent layers, strokes showing over/under strokes. I like the life, the potential for motion, the undiluted immediacy of the overall effect.
Okay, I know I didn’t invent impressionistic painting, but it’s always seemed oddly out of my reach ’til now. Allow me my moment of rejoicing, eh?
Well, now that Sadie is done, and the Portrait Marathon doesn’t start for 5 whole days, what will I do with myself??
I do have a few donations I need to be doing. Okay, a whole truck-load of donations! One is a graphic illustrating the different sighthound shapes for easier identification by non-sighthound-savvy rescue volunteers (for Team Inch). That should be interesting. Then, there’s the Hope for Hounds collar design for 2014. And a top-secret project for Kindred Hearts Transport Connection.
Fletcher’s mom is like me, I’m afraid: photographically challenged. Alas, those of us suffering this affliction are lucky to avoid getting our thumbs on the lens. After taking another try, we collected what we both agreed we’d better settle for, though it was still a bit vague. So, what to do? Invent detail, or keep the painting simpler, more impressionistic? I sort of chose a middle ground. This scan, despite my attentions in photoshop, insist on being more garish than subtle, which is a shame. There’s a lovely bit of shading to indicate the warm light bouncing up and around even on this shadowy side of his handsome face. Well, at least his mom will see it, in person!
Handsome Ruger! His mom sent me a few pictures, and a description, as usual. She described a protector, her “Sheriff”, a “relaxed but aware” presence, always ready to lie down. But the pictures she sent had me laughing out loud. He looked to me like he had a goofy side, and, despite the more dignified description, his mom was choosing that goofy side to hold his memory.
I give you, Ruger.
Tomorrow, we have another bichon, the housemate to Fluffy; Rosie!
Tip Top’s portrait was a special challenge in that I only had one photo to work from, which was small and low-resolution, as well as being fairly dim. Her head is lit from the rear, leaving most of her face in shadow, with just a rim of ligh Since she had passed, there was no opportunity to get any better pictures. Still, this one held an almost dreamy magic, and she had this subtle Mona Lisa smile that was irresistible.
I was also using a painting surface new to me, and a little anxious how it would work. Oh. My. GOSH! I love it. It’s my new favorite, I think! Aquabord (formerly known as claybord textured) solves the issues I’ve experienced with claybord (too smooth, shows brushstrokes in a most vexing way), and takes the paint beautifully. Anyway, I’m really pleased with how it worked here.
Star’s portrait took a whole different direction than … any portrait I’ve ever done, I guess! Why is that? Who knows? A question for the Art Fates, and they’re not talking. (I know; I sent them a very polite email, left a few voice messages, sent a registered mail or two, and … nothing. Crickets chirping.) Those of you who’ve been watching me for awhile know that I usually start with an underpainting to establish values, then glaze in colors and top with details. Not Miss Star! She had her own ideas!
Star’s softly faded blue brindle, her sleepy-eyed gaze, her pink collar, and those little teeth revealed in her relaxed mouth, inspired a sort of hazy love affair. Her coat looks just as her “mom” says; bunny soft, plush. Somewhere in all that gentleness though is a sparky ol’ gal, who will bark ’til you get it right, and I hope I got some of that in a certain pointedly self-confident look in her eyes. She sees no competition for her crown, you might say.
So, Miss Star shed her soft light on my easel for awhile, to my great joy. As her portrait moves to the varnishing and shipping side of the studio, Emily is up next, with her boy Dave.