I had my first solo exhibition at our local pub last July. I had been back painting only a year and a half after two decades of perusing other outlets for my creative nature. My two daughters grew up not knowing their mum could draw or paint because they barely saw me with a paint brush in my hand – except to paint out house!
At the time of the exhibition, my technique was still developing, but there were a few pieces in that exhibition that I was quite proud of. One in particular was of Lucky the goat.
The organiser of the pub exhibition space is an artist herself, and a teacher. I was a bit surprised at her delight when viewing my work for the first time. She was so excited over Lucky that she bought it on the spot! I was thrilled that an artist and someone who taught art would like my animated-looking quirky animal paintings enough to want to buy one. I knew I still had a lot of painting hours ahead of me before I felt like I was painting to my potential. Jackie even said she liked my style and would like me to paint her own dogs.
Seven months down the track and I got the opportunity to go out to Jackie’s place to meet and photograph her dogs. There were three. Two big black ultra excited hounds met me at the gate. One of them was Max.
Max at the gate
I liked Max immediately. Once the excitement of a new visitor subsided, I could see he had a chilled nature and a kind, fun and intelligent mind. He is also a pretty dog with tri- colour markings and expressive ears.
Because Jackie is a supporter of the arts and is an artist herself, she has so generously offered to allow me to take the portraits I paint of her three pooches to the upcoming Dog Lovers Show in Melbourne next month. This is great as I had free license to paint the size and format of my choosing. For Max I chose a square format 45 x 45cm
After trolling through my photos I deliberated between these two compositions- settling on the latter. I preferred the angle and expression better. He looks kind and friendly and joyful.
This photo has an obvious light source, which really helps with putting the illusion of volume into my work. To assist with the drawing onto the canvas I use a grid app on my iPad then transfer the image onto a gridded canvas with a charcoal pencil. I’ve started putting a coloured ground down before gridding up. I don’t like the blank white canvas as I prefer to have a them colour to set the mood.
I started this painting with a red coloured ground. I wanted it warm to enhance Max’s eyes and tan sideburns. I soon found out though that the tone was very hard to work with, especially when doing the initial blocking in of the eyes.
I carried on, adding layers with my acrylics
Final picture is completed portrait of Max. Thanks Jackie.