"Dylan the Tri-Colored Corgi" - 11x14 pastel
Dylan did not get a nose job, but I sure had fun painting him. Corgi dog owners may disapprove of the pug-like nose and I hope they understand that I am new at painting dogs and understanding what the camera lens can do. As I indicated in previous posts, his nose should be much more pointed.
One of my challenges in finishing Dylan was softening the edges between the fur colors so that the stripes were not too strong. I think they could be softened even more, what do you think? By softening his fur all over, his demeanor also softened. The eyes are meant to give that pleading look and I even got in his drool! My goal was to portray him as if he is saying, "Mom, can I have my treat now?"
Now I am beginning to wonder what it would be like to paint a Corgi with oil paints? Hmmm, do you think I should try oils or stick with pastels?
Thank you for your interest in Dylan and my painting process.
Further developing Dylan's character & fur
Dylan needs a nose job! It's official and Dylan's owner confirmed it, but the doctor - that would be me the artist - is not going to operate. Apparently in reality Dylan's nose is only about 1.5 times the size of his eye, so the camera really did alter him. This is a great example of how we can be misled my the lens of the camera.
Despite his charming nose, I continued to apply more layers of pastel by further defining the directions of his fur and giving colors more depth. I often use color opposites - oranges and blues in this situation - for darker areas versus the actual colors of gray or black because I believe that mixing colors is more interesting for the viewer. Black is rarely seen in my paintings, hence you will see very dark purples, blues, browns and sometimes magentas instead of black. Dylan's eyes, however, were first layered with a black and here I have added a reddish brown for the next layer in his eyes.
While painting, I keep thinking about how I want to portray Dylan so he looks like he is saying, "Mom, can I have my treat now?"
So would you have given Dylan a nose job
...to be continued.
Modeling of Dylan starts at this stage of painting
Did you figure out what is not correct with my drawing of Dylan? What is out of proportion? The 'magic' of photography is not always so magical, or is it?
Dylan's nose is foreshortened by the camera lens and I did not make adjustments to correct his larger than life snout. I also did not have additional photos of him to increase my awareness of my mistake. Since I knew this painting was an exercise my research was not anywhere near what it is normally. If I had gone and looked up tri-colored corgis I would have seen how their noses are quite pointed. I could have made the correction during the painting process, but I may have made a mess of things and besides I decided that I liked the comical look, (though his owner may not??).
At this stage of the painting you can see that I am working with more colors and in smaller areas. Dylan is starting to look round. Thoughts of Dylan's personality are always running through my mind and I am striving to project those characteristics in the painting. I am also making sure that his head is slightly tilted, though I think I could have tilted it more. What do you think? Notice that my pastel strokes are attempting to mimic the directions of his hair.
...to be continued.
Second layers of pastel applied
What is wrong with my drawing of this dog? Do you know? I believe that I have an idea, but I will continue with my painting because this is a practice exercise. Learning a new subject matter does take time and mistakes are bound to happen.
During this stage of the painting, I maintain my original large shapes and begin thinking about the colors that I want to apply under the top or later colors. I learned from painting my cat that the tawny colors work better with yellows as the under colors and that is why you see a lot of yellows and browns. Notice that Dylan still reads as a flat image. The modeling or making him look more 3-dimensional does not occur until the next phase.
Having never painted dogs, I am surprised by how much I am enjoying the challenge of this new subject matter. These are live creatures with individual personalities. It will be interesting to learn how to convey their character. You will have to keep me on my toes to make sure I do that!
Have you figured out what is wrong with my drawing of Dylan?
...to be continued.
Rubbing alcohol dissolves pastel
This next step in the artistic process is relatively easy. After establishing the large areas of the portrait, I need to "melt" or dissolve the applied pastel into the painting surface (or sometimes called substrate). With an old round watercolor brush I gently apply rubbing alcohol to each color making sure that I maintain the integrity of each color. The colors could be mixed or blended but in many areas they would turn into mud and I like to keep my underpainting clean.
The first colors I dissolve are usually the light colors and then I progress to the darker colors. If the alcohol mixture gets to dark and muddy I will replace it with clean liquid. I just use the cheap rubbing alcohol you can get at any drug or grocery store. It dries very quickly and then I begin to apply my second layer of paste.
Something is wrong with this drawing and I am not sure what it is? Do you?
1st layer of pastel
Where to begin when dealing with a very round design? Dylan is a tri-colored Corgi and when I captured him in this photograph, I was not aware of how round he would look. I decided to go ahead despite the art "rule" that says to avoid a large round shape and especially when it is essentially in the middle of the painting. I did break the circle a little by taking the top of his head further up the page and tilting him slightly. His nose, the prominent feature, is off center as well.
After a sketch and tranferring that on pastel paper, I layered in the large shapes of the painting. As I usually do, the warm colors indicate where the light is hitting him and the cool colors indicate the opposite. All the books tell me to paint the eyes black first. I do not like to use black, but since I am practicing I decided to follow what I had been reading.
Does this first step make sense to you?
...to be continued.