Every artist has their own way of approaching light and shadow. Sometimes I go by feel (not very helpful in way of an explanation.) However, this time I made a conscious decision on how I would mix colors for the shadows on the fur.
I thought bringing in the grayer of the sky colors would help unify the painting. By mixing ultramarine blue, a little King's blue, paynes gray and titanium white I had a color slightly bluer and more vibrant than the darkest gray-blue on the horizon. It is a delicate balance for the color. Too little blue and you don't have enough shadow, too much and you have a dog with blue fur!
At first I thought I might be making a mistake with the bright orangey-yellow on his coat. It was so bright. But once I painted the burnt sienna and burnt umber around it, the coat glistened.
When I make what appears to be a bold color choice, I need to listen to that inner artistic voice rather than the intellectual one which says, "what are you doing?? you are going to ruin it!"
The artistic voice says, "give it a try," "be bold," and "you can always paint it out if it doesn't work, so why not?"
Now that I have the grasses painted, it is time to move to my favorite part, the animal.
The dog's head takes the most time. First, I have to decide which colors to use. My reference was taken early afternoon so most of the 1100+ photos are a bit washed out. However, I have some which have good brown colors. Still, much of the colors I will be mixing are from memory. The way the dog's coat glistened in the light and the texture of his fur need to read as this German shorthair.
Secondly, the head takes the most time because it is here in which you can feel his personality - and this is simply a great dog!
Just started this painting. I debated whether to use the Venetian Red gesso as I did for my last pieces. Since I wanted an older look, I thought the red gesso would be a good fit.
When I am asked to do a dog commission, I like to meet the dog. Watching him move and interact gives me a sense of his personality. I am not painting any dog or breed, but a particular individual.
In this case, I drove 5 1/2 hours to spend an afternoon with him.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. The idea for this painting originated from a Civil War reenactment I watched in June. After a lot of redesigning (and help from published weapons expert Michael Cecil and his wife world-renown artist Krystii Melaine) I hope I have conveyed the feeling of Outlaws in the late 1860's - 1870's.