Luki (work in progress) acrylic and conte crayon on panel 8" x 10" © Xan Blackburn

Luki – work in progress 8″ x 10″, acrylic and conte crayon on panel © Xan Blackburn

I’m pleased with this stage, though I had hoped to be a bit further along by quitting time tonight.  Well, life, in all it’s variability, will make hash of the best of plans, eh?  

Here’s a quick run-through of how we got here.

Luki - reference original
Luki – reference original

Luki is a delicate thing, a bit shy, a little un-sure.  Of the reference photos, I had to choose this one, for the lovely lighting, her alert gaze, pricked ears, slender muzzle and cautious mouth. 

Luki - reference photoshopped
Luki – reference photoshopped

 As usual, I took it into Photoshop, and experimented with the background, composition, lighting, etc., until I was content.

Cleaning Pallet

Once I got my pallet cleaned up (so cathartic!) after Sadie’s portrait …


my painting area all set up …

Studio dogs - Check!
Studio dogs – Check!

and my studio companions in their places …

I began.  First, I transferred the drawing I had refined in photoshop by re-drawing on the back of the printed paper with conte crayons (dry pastels).  I chose to use different colors for this, as this method does leave definite traces in the painting, and I wanted to enhance the painting, not create something I’d have to fight with later.  Cool gray for the muzzle areas, and a hot yellow-orange for the rest.  Taped it to the panel, and drew over it again to transfer the drawing to the panel.  I set the drawing using a brush wet with a bit of dilute acrylic polymer, letting the color of the pastels act like paint as it spread into the acrylic.

I was on the fence about how to go forward: bold, like in Sadie’s portrait, or more cautiously, in glazes, as I generally do?  Like Luki, I decided on the more cautious approach to suit her personality.  What with one thing and another, this is as far as I got today, and I’m pretty pleased with the feel.  

Tomorrow: more Luki!  I have a feeling these are going to average 2 days/painting.  Let’s see if I’m right!


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