Today is my daughter’s birthday, which prompted a fun artistic detour for me last week. It all started with a wedding gift she and her hubby received last summer from my dear friend and exquisite painter, Ann Goble. Ann surprised them with a gorgeous 12X12 oil painting of their beloved dog, Cooper. They treasure it!
Well, they decided their fur-baby needed a companion, and spunky four-month-old lab Maggie joined their family a few weeks later. She’s grown into a beautiful nearly-full-grown dog.
I thought she needed her own portrait! I bought the only 12X12 cradled canvas in stock at my local art supply store, and rummaged through my studio for tubes of acrylic paint. (Ann’s painting is in rich oils, but I was working with available time and supplies. No way I could replicate her work anyway, but I was aiming for something along the lines of complementary.)
In recent years I’ve been swimming around in mixed media, collage, printmaking, and lettering, but I must admit it was fun to tackle a straight painting. Hmm… Would it be like riding a bicycle?
Yes – at least it felt that way! First I filled a couple of sketchbook pages with rough sketches and gesture drawings from a few photographs. (The one above became my primary reference photo.) I remembered old tricks such as making a drawing upside-down, just focusing on shapes and lines. (Remember Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain?) I also made a loose grid to guide my composition – folding a copy of my reference picture into 16 squares, and adjusting my drawing on paper accordingly if my rendering seemed too far off in one section or another.
Then I rubbed the back with charcoal and placed my sketch on the canvas, going over the lines again with a pencil to transfer them to the paint surface. Now it was painting time!
Here’s a rough progression:
Ant then the best part, giving it to Morgan:
If it makes them smile, that’s success enough for me for this little artistic side trip.
And, really, any creative project that gets our right-brain synapses firing helps nurture other creative projects, too, don’t you think?