Monday, March 21, 2011

Portrait # 6: Power Smile

Check out the power smile on this English Bull Terrier, a 20 x 20 inch acrylic painting on gallery-wrapped canvas.  I knew the minute I saw this photograph that it would make a charming portrait.

Generally I don't like to share pictures of my work in progress, because I can sometimes make major changes midstream and lose all respect for the direction I chose initially! However, occasionally things proceed in a relatively straight line (as in this case), so I've included a few photos to illustrate how this portrait developed.

First is the photo I started with from my client. The shadows across the mouth are a bit strong, but otherwise it's clear, in focus, and chock-full of personality! A successful portrait always comes more quickly and easily when I'm able to begin with high-quality photographs.

My first step was to paint a burnt sienna undercoat over the entire canvas, which helps bring warmth to a portrait, and then roughed in my shapes with watered-down paint. Generally I sketch my subjects in a bit more detail, but I knew where I was going with this painting so was able to dive right in.

 Next I started to add lights and darks and build up layers of color in the background.

Between this stage and the completed portrait, I also opted to change the position of the leg in the lower right hand corner, straightening it out in a more conventional pose.

I've submitted this portrait,"Power Smile," along with two others, to the "Mug Shots" exhibition, an online art show hosted by the Canine Art Guild, which will go live around April 1.  I'll keep you posted on where to go to view all the entries and how to vote for your favorites.

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Rainbowdog Pet Portraits: Life is Colorful Here.


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