This week I started work on a new portrait. Although I had taken about 100 photographs of the dog, Grace, and had several nice ones to choose from I decided that I could best paint her by combining two of the photos together: one was a good view of her head and the other was a good view of her body. They were both taken from the same angle to the sun so it was easy to stitch them together.
After working up a small pencil sketch to help me think about the placement of her body on the canvas and her relationship with the background I did a small color study:
The color study is done on a scrap of canvas taped to a board and helps me to get a feel for how everything will start to come together on the large canvas. It also serves as a reminder that it's easy to paint muddy colors in the background areas if I'm not careful.
Although I'm still thinking about whether or not I want to stick with the color choices I made in the color study, I decided that the value sketch was still good and I was able to start the block in on the canvas without second guessing myself.
Grace. 16x20, oil on linen. Work in progress.
The block in is a very thin and almost monochromatic ghosting in of the final image. It helps me to see that I have the drawing right before I start laying down the thick, hard to correct, opaque paint on top. I like to let this layer dry before painting over it, so I've put the portrait aside over the weekend and I'll recommence work on it next week.
I've recently done away with the comments section. If you have questions or comments, please contact me directly. Links from other blogs are always welcome.