Steps for painting a pet portrait
Yesterday our class topic was painting pet portraits. I am so proud of their paintings. This was the first time they painted animals. Great job!
They did such good drawings. We were just about the start Step 2.
Step 1 - The Drawing - covered in the last blog, but can be summed up in one word: MEASURE
Step 2 - Color Mixing - even though most dogs and cats are shades of brown, black and/or white, there is a lot of color mixing going on for these paintings.
mix several values of the general hue
mix two temperatures of each value
then depending on the value of the dog I create four more piles of paint to have on my palette of red, yellow and blue plus one pile of the complement of the pet's color mixed with white. If the dog is a dark color you would use darker values of RYB.
The colors on bottom left are for a brown dog (the photo on my monitor make the lightest value look too orange.) The white demonstrates the brushwork, pulling the brush to the outside.
The reason I have the RYB and complement available is to be sure to include variety in the fur color. For each brushstroke, I mix a little of one of those piles, otherwise the fur looks flat.
For example, on the light side of a white pet, not only would I consider the temperature, but also include some variety with RYB and the complement.
You can see some of this going on in the photos especially in the last blog's photos.
BRUSHWORK - to create the look of fur brush from the inside of the form to the outside leaving soft edges and letting the brushstrokes show creating the look of fur.
Last bit of advice: maintain the darks even in a white pet. Beyond light, middle and dark, keep the dark accent color and there may even be a fifth value for a highlight.
Here's where having a good photo is important. I have done commissions where the photos given to me had "red eyes".
-show transparency in the eye by using a lighter color on the bottom of the iris and include a little shadow under the eyelid plus add a highlight at the end.
Bottom of the eye shows transparency of the eye and shadow under the lid