Sammi – work in progress
5″ x 5″ acrylic on canvas
©Xan Blackburn 2012

Sammi was a happy guy!

According to his human, Sammi came to them as an 11.5 year old bounce, wobbly and with a “slight fecal incontinence”.  He was a sweet ol’ guy, but had no problem telling his humans he was in want of something by barking until they figured out what it was!

She says,

The pic I sent was him 10 minutes after he walked in the door. It is still the way I remember him.
He slipped in and out of our lives so peacefully, how can I miss him so much ?

The photo is adorable!  How could you resist that smiling face??  Unfortunately for my purposes, it’s also both low-resolution, and burnt out by flash.

Even after doing what I could in Photoshop, this is what I have to work with (below).  A bit vague-ish. His other ear is a softly blended blob.  But, what can you do?  Luckily, most greyhounds have pretty similar physiology, and I have a couple laying around for reference.

  I thought I’d move him out into a sunny day background, and remove the fingers crawling on his head and hips.  I did my drawing to the best of my ability, and transferred it onto my canvas using a pale periwinkle pastel this time.

Addressing the pallet, I saw I still had some useable paint.  Waste not, want not!  I used some white with glazing medium to set the drawing, for starters.  I diluted some ultramarine in the same way, and started washing in some pale shading, working up to the darker areas.  It’s not super dark, particularly as I had to get it pretty wet to revive it, but it was good enough for a first round.  I also had some raw umber (dark mud-brown), so I started in with that, using it to bump the darks up too.  I love the way the cool blue and the warm brown play off of each other!

I also had some red, so I decided to lay in the base tones in the mouth, nose and collar, even giving the eyes and ears just a hint of pink.  Sammi’s nose has quite a bit of pink, as his color is so dilute, so it’s an interestingly mottled pink-dark brownish gray*.  I like how it’s coming along at this point.

I still had some cyan (sort of a sky blue) that was useable, which fit my concept for the background, so in it went.  Once I had some of that down, it also made its way into some reflections on the more shadowed side of Sammi, and on his nose.

I know he looks a little evil at the moment, but the lines over the inside corners of his eyes will be softened in the final round.

So, that’s where we are at this moment.  Back to work!

*I used to work in a comic book coloring studio with some very talented artists.  The owner of the studio used to describe colors like this, which always cracked me up.  “It’s a sort of pinkish, greenish, purplish orange with a hint of blue.”  Oh!  Well, that clears that up!  😉


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