Struggling With Cocoa. Whoever Said Dogs Are Easy?

A couple of days ago I started painting a picture from a photo of a friend’s miniature dachshund named Cocoa. Here’s a progress report.

First I copied the picture onto canvas in charcoal, highlighting the light and dark areas. With so many shapes and circles it’s beginning to remind me of painting by numbers!

Pete Davies painting Cocoa
Pete Davies painting Cocoa

Second day and I can’t decide where to start. At first Cocoa’s coat seems to be a variety of different browns, so I think it might be a good idea to paint it tonally using burnt umber and turpentine. So that’s what I do.

The under-painting isn’t working and I start to forget where I am. I realise that Cocoa’s coat is more blue than brown so I apply a mix of ultramarine and zinc white to see what effect this has.

I put down my brush stating that I can’t paint dogs!  The voice of reason (wife) says, ‘You say that every time you start a painting.’ I think that she might just be right, but only just, and press on.

It’s getting late and I fancy a drink so with part of the coat complete I decide to have another go tomorrow.

Third day. Something odd happened during the night, the painting seems to have improved. I’ve noticed this effect before so, encouraged, I press on – despite the hangover.

I continue blocking in then move on to the background to see how different colours work with Cocoa.

The photo was taken on the beach. Cocoa is sitting on the sand and the background is a jetty wall. Painting in the stone mortar creates an impressionist feel which boosts my confidence, I think I can complete this!

It’s getting dark so I’m off to bed. I take the painting upstairs and show Helen. She likes it a lot, particularly the background trees. Still, even voices of reason get it wrong sometimes!

  • To be continued ….
Advertisements

Flintstones, Meet the Flintstones!

I paint using oils, buying the highest quality pigment blends available. Brushes are important, different textures and density to create different effects. Art has evolved, no longer constrained, as we all know, by trying to recreate what we see.
We now work to partially complete paintings, leaving space for interpretation and free thinking. We look behind the art, trying to interpret what the artist is trying to portray and we all come up with a different reality.
How things have changed, or have they? Take a closer look at cave art, the primitive thinking of primitive man.

Lascaux horse
Lascaux horse

But hardly primitive, conceptually complex, life and death depicted with such simplicity of line gives clarity. Something for all of us to think about.

Mindfulness, Schmindfulness

The weekend’s here and I have just discovered that I am completely on trend – in fact probably a trend-setter! My wife is teaching mindfulness at school, to help the over timetabled and stressed children to relax. Apparently mindfulness benefits those who suffer from depression and an over full mind. untitled
Mindfulness is being in the present, now. All you have to do is think about what you are doing at this very moment.  In this way you leave behind all the stresses and strains of the week and focus on the moment.
Your body relaxes, your pulse slows, endorphins flow. Quiet music, restful thoughts and detailed colouring books are all mindful materials readily available on the internet to purchase.
I have my own mindfulness paraphernalia; canvas, painting palette smudged with rich colours and an idea. How calm is that!

Wilde About Nature? Yes and No.

When I look at a landscape I cannot help seeing all its defects. It is fortunate for us, however, that Nature is so imperfect, as othewise we should have no art at all.

Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde