Wednesday, 27 May 2015

To be perfectly Frank... a pug portrait

Pug+Pet Portrait+Gouache+Nic's eARTh+Nicola McLean
'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!

Pug+Dog+Animal art+pet portrait+Nicola McLean
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

30 comments:

  1. Your pug turned out perfectly! Interesting about Lil Bub I see they are now sequencing her genome https://experiment.com/projects/the-lilbubome-sequencing-lilbub-s-magical-genome She is so cute!

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  2. Your palette of blues, pinks and purples on this dark doggy make his coat shine and come alive. This is true artistry, my friend. Brilliant work!

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  3. your Frank is absolutely brilliant Nic!! I have never seen anyone capture the pure color and sheen of a black coat as you have!

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  4. Wow! What an awesome portrait of this pug. Perfect colors. Love the blacks, blues. Well done!!

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  5. By the way Nic, I have never had a Pug puppy. Really a beautiful creature. Their eyes tell it all. I may be tempted at a later date to check into their history, etc.

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  6. Wonderful painting of a very cute dog, what a sweetie! Have a good weekend, Valerie

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  7. Fabulous, what a cutie. Happy PPF

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  8. You are SUCH a talented artist. xx

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  9. Oh my......... what a beautiful dog and excellent painting. Thanks for sharing all the different stages, it's always so interesting to see how other people does their work. Love how you left the background white.

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  10. N'm not a pug person but this is so wonderful done! found your comparison of using the two types of paint hysterically funny. Yet so true! Diane #42

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  11. Gosh I would like to hugh him and your painting is WONDERFUL!!! I absolutely love your talent! Unique!

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  12. Such a beautiful painting. I know your friend must be thrilled to have it and you for a friend.
    Meditation and mindfulness have both brought so many gifts into my life. I'm glad that you are also experiencing the many benefits of both.

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  13. Frank is frankly gorgeous. You have exactly captured his looks and his attitude in your beautiful portrait.

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  14. I love seeing your progress as you painted Frank. I wish I would remember to do that more often! He turned out lovely. I have not used gauche but would love not to have all of the acrylic mess at times. Have a lovely week!

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  15. Aw! I became a fan of Frank!!

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  16. Gorgeous! All those reflected colors are simpy stunning. Thanks for showing us how you layer them!

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  17. oh, isn't he cute! I love seeing the different stages he went through, I always find it fascinating to "see" someone else work and I can't imagine how you get such a detailed almost photographic likeness to the real dog, even after seeing the in-progress pics. You are one talented lady!

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  18. That is adorable and I loved loved loved seeing the stages it went through.... you have more patience than I do that's for sure, but it is an amazing result so totally worth it I am sure... xx

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  19. I love it! He reminds me of my Boston Terrier, except mine can be kind of rowdy sometimes, even in his old age. Blessings!

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  20. He's gorgeous and the colours are perfect. Thanks so much for showing the stages. I wish I had your patience but I'm like a bull in a china shop with paint.

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  21. Stunning work!! You have such a heart for animals that shine through your portraits! You're like the dog whisperer and just know what they're thinking and convey that perfectly. I LOVE this so much...you are so skilled...you need to do a whole series of these heartfelt pieces!

    Hugs Giggle

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  22. I love this!! Amazing and fun to look at!

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  23. Fabulous painting! Wonderful to see the steps! Thank you for sharing!

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  24. Ah, What a wonderful painting! So beautiful and realistic. This incredible artwork fills my eyes--which is the greatest compliment I can give.

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  25. Aw, Frank is magnificent. Beautiful. I loved seeing your steps leading up to the final painting.

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  26. Aw, Frank is magnificent. Beautiful. I loved seeing your steps leading up to the final painting.

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  27. Awww what a sweetie! You captured him absolutely beautifully. I love all the attention to detail you put into these paintings, but I don't think I'd have the patience for it. Although it does seem to be quite meditative. I'm more of a cat person, but if I was to have a dog, it would most likely be a pug. They're just too adorable.

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  28. How did I miss this post?????? For some reason you hadn't updated on my side bar.... This is AMAZING!!!!! The best yet!!! Honestly Nic, you really have embraced your style and it is so instantly recognisable... and you have captured this dog so perfectly. SERIOUSLY good :0)

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Your comments always colour me happy! Thank you for popping by.

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