Friday, August 27, 2010

Eleven Puppies

I painted eleven puppies; four rubies, two Blenheims and five tricolors. Everything but the white - first the dark colors need to dry. The four source photos I took have different tones and shades, so I pretty much had to make it up the colors based on my personal knowledge of cavaliers. I am going to have to tone down the ruby pups on the far right. The wood underneath them may have to change because it's so similar in value, but maybe shadows will do the trick.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Took more photos of pouring water and water puddled on blond wood. Picked through the results and used the best ones for sources for the water pattern in the bowl and on the top of the dresser.
It'll need several layers, more value distinction and more detail, but it's a start.

I like to think it would of eventually occurred to me, but by then it might have been varnished. So heartfelt thanks to my friend Charlie, who asked the right question at the right time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Progress on Clothe the Naked and Feed the Hungry

I added the chair, and worked on the dog's face.  His face is a black blob in the source photo I took, so I found another one with the same profile position and am working from that.
Here's a detail-

I plugged in the base of Hungry too. It's a piece of quarter-sawn oak that's the top of the dresser. It's also seen in Thirsty. I'll be adding more detail in the way of wood grain, but want to keep it simple and the focus on the dogs.

Had a kick ass painting day. I've cleaned my brushes, put the paint away, and now I'm going to go scrounge up some dinner.

Monday, August 23, 2010

garden hose and goldfish bowl

Todays' effort - the garden hose, the fish bowl, and three goldfish, plus a little work on his lower jaw.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thirsty Dog

This afternoon I blocked in the dog on Thirsty.   These highlights are gray and fawn instead of blue. Tomorrow I'll lay in the hose and a goldfish or two. I'll finish the mouth and the collar when the paint has dried a little.

I need to decide what the background of Bury will be, but I just don't know. That means I'll be starting on Feed the Hungry if it's dry enough - or drawing Comfort the Sick instead of painting tomorrow.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Black dog

Blocked in the base fur color and placed the highlights. Left the edges vague so I can go back in with precision after another layer on the skin. Once I get the chair placed, I'll go back for round two.

Got Bury the Dead properly drawn to my satisfaction, then did a Paynes Gray and white mix with a teeny dab of Sap green and applied it to the background of Feed the Hungry. I left a loop white for the halo. Last time I counted, I'd squeezed in ten puppies for this saintly dog to nurse. She was actually nursing eight and she barely weighed twelve pounds herself.
Tomorrow I'll bounce to painting the black dog in Thirsty. In theory, same colors so it should move along fairly quickly.

I found the kind of Georgia red clay in clumps and clods I wanted for Bury on a building site. I took some photos and will try the shapes out in a sketch. I'm still uncertain about the overall background color. Maybe a variation of the green lawn so ubiquitous in cemeteries.  It could emphasize the rawness of the clay. But maybe a lighter value of the orange-red clay will work best. I'm going to keep my options open for now.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Give Water to the Thirsty

While Clothe the Naked dries a bit, I got started on Water for the Thirsty.
There is something I am really enjoying about painting big and fast.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Clothe the Naked

I roughed in the body for Clothe the Naked this morning. It's been a while since I painted skin, but it wasn't as difficult as I anticipate. I've been looking at a lot of Titian (especially Susannah and the Elders) and Rubens to get ready. The skin looks violet now, but that's against the unpainted white canvas. The chair is dark mahogany, and the dog is mostly black, with a few tan accents and lots of blue highlights in the fur, so I'm expecting rich contrast.


I'm working from background to foreground so the central element will be painted last. The canvas is going to go into the drying box now, because there's a lot of white paint in the mix. It will be a while before I can paint another layer.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Preparation for the next series

I'm mostly done with the principle photography for a new series, based on the Catholic's Seven Corporal Works of Mercy.  Some compositions  are built from four different source photos. Asking for trouble, I know.

I did small  preparatory sketches that put together the different elements, just to get a feel for it. Taped some newsprint sketchbook paper together to make it 24x30" surface, then drew two of the most difficult compositions to scale. Eventually I did six. Here's photo of the first five drawings taped up-

This morning I finished the third drawing on canvas, so it's time to tape the edges of the canvas and mix some paint. I love this moment at the top of the project roller coaster, just before the drop off and race around the loop de loops and sharp turns begin at breath taking speed. Before the first mark on the canvas and everything is still possible, my vision is pure and clear, without compromises required by technical limitations.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bitter, and Corporal Works of Mercy

I'm still painting along on Bitter. Worked on the big sugar bowl yesterday. If you look closely you can see a falling lump of sugar. Think I will add one more cube teetering on the rim. Image

Now back to doing large to-scale drawings for the next series. I've done the principle photography for the series, based on the Catholic church's seven corporal works of mercy; shelter the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick, minister to prisoners, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and bury the dead.

Here's my plan; Cavalier dogs plus one prop. Each CWOM per 24 x 30" canvas. Dogs will be nearly life size, the props will be cropped and in a corner.

I've taken hundreds of photos over the last few days. I winnowed them down to 14-18 per category, and have made myself a kind of contact sheet. I've been picking out the elements that work best for each.

I'm going at this from a new direction technically - instead of transferring the image by grid from the photo to the canvas, I'm going to project the photo, draw the outline and a few other elements with pencil, and then finish the sketch working directly from the photo. Once I'm satisfied with that, I'll start painting.

I plan to do a ambiguous neutral colored background. The supporting surface is going to be simple and stylized, though I haven't figured out exactly how that is going to work. The table tops I used are light maple color.

I borrowed a Blenheim yesterday, so it's not all Moochie, my black & tan cavalier. I also got great photos of wolves from my bio-sister that I am going to try to use.