Monday, May 02, 2011

Portrait Marathon: LOTTIE is done!

Lottie's portrait is done!
I finished it, almost, on Friday, then Saturday, then really actually finished it again some more yesterday morning before breakfast.

When last we saw her, Lottie looked pretty jaundiced.
My next steps were to start pouring on the color, and bringing up detail.

I apologize ahead of time for not taking more progress pictures.  I got to a point where I thought I'd have to start over, which is a familiar phase I've learned to call "the ugly stage" and then keep painting.  I really thought I'd lost all control of it this time.  But, having been at that point so often before, I kept going, kept refining, kept adjusting ... But I didn't want to stop to scan it, nor let anyone see it in those awkward stages, so ... I'll skip forward to the bit where I felt I had got a handle on it again.

  This is a long way past the yellow phase above.  Part of what was causing me fits was the shadow side of her body, where I needed to suggest both the sunlight reflecting on her red fur, and the cool shadows curving down her side.  What baffled me was my ASSUMPTION that the sunlight would be warm, and shadow cool.  What I finally realized I was fighting with myself about was that the light bouncing off her fur was reflected from the blue sky; cool.  The light that was bouncing back off the grass onto her shadowed side was actually less cooled by the blue sky, revealing the warmth of her red fur.  When I finally stopped arguing with my accurate perception (those hairs are brushed with a blue-white light!) by trying to insist they be lit with golden-yellow sunlight, it just started to click.  Here you can see that taking shape, including on her sunny side, to our left.  There was an interesting mix of cool and warm tones on her face, which took some getting acquainted with, too.  Her sweet face is developing that white mask of a mature dog, which needed to be brought up to much lighter tones for her face to come truly forward.  

Here we have Lottie's final look.  The highlights are all in, the deepest darks are picked out, there is a sheen of blue sky reflecting on top of her nose, and her eyes are full of warmth and humor.  What a joy to have this smiling face in front of me for days!

Nancy, thanks for the honor of letting me paint Miss Lottie's portrait, and for contributing to the Grey Muzzle Organization.

Next up is Tena's Grover!  Grover's portrait is a little more subdued, as he cuddles on the couch with a stuffie.  Back with the progress as it happens!

As always, please let me know what you think in my comments!  I love to get your honest feedback.

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