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!
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 ….