A couple of years ago, I painted a portrait of my tabby cat on the hunt. This is a whimsical one, I call it “What House Cats Dream About,” since he looked as fierce as any lion or tiger when stalking through the grass.
I’m currently taking a painting class, and just for fun, decided to do the portrait assignment. I used to do commission portraits, before I turned my brush towards painting birds and landscapes. But the old cowboy was irresistible, so I did a quick study:
I like a limited palette for portraits, so I did the entire study using yellow ochre, cad. yellow medium, burnt sienna, alizarin crimson, titanium white, ultramarine blue, and black. You can get a wide range of flesh and hair tones with those.
I also have some barns and birds I’m working on, I’ll share those soon!
A few months ago, I painted a portrait of a friend’s dog. She is a beautiful golden retriever, who sticks her tongue out to the side as a habit. Here’s the portrait, based upon a photo she provided. Because this dog swims constantly in the summer, I put the lake behind her:
I had a lot of fun painting her; she’s a wonderful dog with lots of energy. Palette used for eyes and fur: burnt sienna, yellow ochre, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow medium, alizarin crimson; for tongue: cad. red med, alizarin crimson, titanium white; nose: fur colors, plus touches of lamp black; lake: ultramarine blue, yellow ochre, titanium white, cobalt blue.
The portrait is finally done. For some reason, my camera picked up more yellow than is in the original.
I added yet more details to the face, softened transitions, added more details to the dog’s fur. The pit bull was painted with raw umber, burnt sienna and ultramarine blue for darks; and yellow ochre, burnt sienna and raw umber in varying degrees, mixed with titanium white, for the lighter areas. This was a fun portrait to do; I wanted to catch the deep love between my friend and her dog, which is why I went with warmer tones overall.
I’ve added some more highlights, shadows and definition, and worked more on the pit bull. There’s still a lot more detail to be done, but it’s coming along.
I warmed up the flesh tones a bit (using cad.red med, cad. yellow, titanium white and a hint of yellow ochre for the lighter areas; I added ultramarine blue and burnt sienna for shadow areas in the skin. For the dog, I added raw umber, yellow ochre, and a grey mixed with burnt sienna, yellow ochre, ultramarine blue and titanium white.
I will work on the transitions, and defining more details, tomorrow.
Today, I added some highlights, shadows, and more detail, especially to the girl. I am also adding more colors to the dog’s coat. I am trying to keep my light consistent in the background and on the objects; it’s a warm mix of cad. yellow med., yellow ochre, and titanium white. It’s starting to come along; I’ll share more tomorrow.
Someone liked my portraits of my friend’s children enough that I was asked to paint another portrait.
On day 1, I created the background in a very light (high key) cad. yellow light, a hint of yellow ochre and tit. white. On day 2, I blocked in the girl and her dog.
Here it is with the rough block ins:
Tomorrow I will create more details.