|'Frank' - gouache on watercolour paper approx 15 x 10 inches|
It makes a lovely change when, every now and then, I get the opportunity to get my gouache paints out. The way I paint with gouache is like a sedate afternoon tea party, china cups, soft voices and cucumber sandwiches with the crusts off - all neat and tidy and contained. Painting with acrylics is more like a kids' party at a paintball range - the necessary drop cloth covering the dining room table trying and failing to contain the blobs of paint that inevitably land on the floor (or the dogs if they get too close!) paint all over my hands and my clothes if I forget to wear my trusty art shirt. I love it, actually, but sometimes it's nice to just paint without the need for vast preparation and subsequent clear up, get out my box of gouache paints and sit in front of the paper stretched on my drawing board and just quietly paint, focussing on each tiny detail instead of flinging paint randomly at a canvas.
|I always like to start with the eyes.|
This is Frank the pug. Frank is the most zen dog you'll likely ever meet. The lucky pup lives with the lovely lady who introduced me to reiki, yoga, meditation and mindfulness and wee Frank spends his days in a wonderfully relaxed environment enjoying the positive benefits that all these activities create.
I was lucky enough to take the reference photos for Frank's portrait myself when I was there for a reiki treatment and I loved painting his cute little squished puggy face and those massive puggy eyes.
|The real Frank posing beautifully for his reference photo|
I've posted the various stages that he went through on the different painting sessions. It never seems like much gets done because it's layers and layers of tiny detailed strokes using very fine brushes to build up the colour. Of course, I was delighted that not only is Frank ridiculously cute but he is also black and as any one who reads my blog knows when it comes to painting, I do prefer black fur to white (just don't tell my westies that!) so I was able to pick out the range of blues, purples and pinks reflected in his shiny coat.
I normally paint my favourite shade of turquoise as a background but as Frank was a full body pose and, as there was quite a lot of blues in his fur already, I thought it would be more effective to leave the background white and just paint little shadows by his paws. I liked the effect of this tiny dog in a big white space!
|The finished portrait|
That's the last of my pet portrait commissions at the moment and next up I'm planning to do a portrait of my own wee cat, Lily, in the same style as I did Lil BUB. I've also got a seed of an idea growing for how to run another pet portrait competition except this time raise money for charity at the same time. Details to follow (once I've worked them out!)
In other news, I've just finished another commission - this time it was my first ever landscape commission and I loved every second of it, pop back next week if you'd like to see the finished piece.
Now, it's back to finding time to paint all the ideas that are popping into my head when I meditate - who knew there'd be such an unexpected and delightfully creative side effect to taking time to just be!!
See you at Paint Party Friday.