Monday, January 3, 2011

White Dogs Are Tough: Day 1

      I debated whether or not to pursue this painting as a demo.  Initially, I discounted it because I felt there just wasn’t enough going on in my subject to make it a good demo piece.  After some thought, I concluded this is actually a perfect demo painting because it presents several challenges, that as painters, we must deal with in a logical, well thought out manner.
     As I see it, the two greatest hurdles we face with my photos of Sugar, the English Setter, are the following:  1) There is a very compressed value range, and 2) I’m going to try to paint a white dog with a very limited pattern and virtually no color indications.

     This painting is a commissioned work for a very good friend and collector, who is a lover of good working setters.
     Prior to starting the painting, I had some decisions to make.  My first major decision was which paper would be appropriate for this subject matter, and would actually help me with the process, since I had the two hurdles to deal with.
     I had one piece of a cool gray, handmade paper I had procured many years ago.  I knew that my whites would “pop” on this paper, but my shadow side might be a bit more difficult to deal with. 
     Everything is a trade off and this paper selection would be no different.  I also made an early decision that I would probably need some gouache to bump the intensity of my color.
     So now that I’ve identified my subject matter, and am aware of the issues I will be dealing with, we’ll begin tomorrow with the preliminary drawings and start our painting. 

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