Monday, July 31, 2017


8" X 13"
Original Oil

Once the painting is varnished, you will be able to see more detail in the background. I have found that many brown combinations dry dull and liven back to their original intensity once varnished.
My go-to spray varnish these days is Krylon Gallery Series UV Archival Varnish 1376 Semi-gloss.
It adds just the right sheen, not super glossy nor matte. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

More Leopard

Just getting started - lots of cat to go.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A miniature painting

Miniature paintings can be almost any "smallish" size. I've seen amazing work by Wes and Rachelle Siegrist as tiny as 1 inch by 1 inch. (they are world-renowned artists specializing in miniature paintings.)
Fortunately, the next two miniatures I am painting are substantially larger. Requirements for this upcoming exhibit and sale have the size set at 108 square inches or less (the equivalent of a 9" X 12".)
 It would be easiest to do a simple animal portrait and call it good. Guess what I am going to do .... yes, let's paint a full reclining leopard in the shadow of African vegetation.
The painting is 8" X 13" (104 square inches.)

Below I have the background roughed in and some base color for the foreground grass. I like to paint the spots first to give me a feeling of the cat's muscle structure. Once I paint the other colors of the fur, I will repaint the spots and blend the spots' edges into the rest of the fur.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Finished - updated July 20th

The painting is now dry and I've scanned it. Thought you might like to see the difference between the photo of the piece and the scan.
Scanned painting (before varnishing)

 Poppet and Kiera
Original Oil
14" X 31"
Detailed grass has been added since the last post. I've also dry brushed in a bit more gray/blue throughout the grass. 
Another important change is a softening of the background trees. In an earlier post I mentioned that they may be too dark. To push them more into the background so they do not compete with the dark browns in the dogs, I glazed over them using the sky color and liquin. Liquin gave me the flexibility to keep the structure of the trees and soften them to different degrees depending on how much paint was mixed with the medium.

Thanks for following. An additional note on this commission. Each of these in progress photos was sent to my client. It was a nice way to keep him involved in the creation. To one set of in progress photos he replied, "Coolest project ever!"

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Almost There

With both dogs completed, now it is time to turn my attention to the painting as a whole. Since the last post I have lightened the breast of the closest bird and enhanced the oranges on his face.
The brush by the birds now has some reds and a touch of yellows (not so much as to distract from the birds.)
Before I begin on the detail grass, I've added some more texture as a base around the dogs. My primary color is yellow ochre darkened with some paynes grey and raw umber.
I've also taken a gray-blue mixture (paynes grey, titanium white, cerulean blue, and ultramarine blue) and dry brushed it into various passages that needed a lift from all the browns.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Two Dogs

The position of the dog in the foreground is classic example of the German Shorthaired Pointer's bird hunting strength. The ability to find the birds and then hold is what these dogs are prized for - in addition to their affectionate companionship.

Some of my best photos of this dog were taken with this dog pointing the other way. My vision for the composition had her pointing to the left. So I reversed some of the images and then used my reference photos of her left side to change her right side coat pattern into her left. The main saddle brown spot is smaller on her right side and does not have a notch, the brown spot on her rump is a different shape, and there is more brown on her neck on her left side. If this was not a commission, these details would not matter, but a loving owner will know the difference.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthair coats come in a variety of patterns. Fortunately for me, these two dogs' coats are distinctive and together make a perfect pairing. Artistically I wouldn't change a thing. My client had the right idea to put both of them in the same painting.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Hungarian Partridge

As the name implies, these upland game birds were imported to the United States from Hungary. In the late 19th century this bird, also called the gray partridge, was released in Washington and California. It now is found in many states and also in Canada.

The patterns on the Hungarian partridge are stunning. To realistically depict them I reached for my small brushes and the magnifying glass! In the painting each bird is between 3 and 4 inches across.