Vita a Cavalier King Spaniel with his portrait:
I did this commission a few years ago, but I just came across the photos I took of the painting in progress and thought you might enjoy seeing them.
This was a most delightful commission, a beautiful little Cavalier King with a great personality, plus his owners were also wonderful to work with. One of his owners is also an artist, so I was doubly honored to do this painting.
1. After I took hundreds of photos and did some sketches plus spending time discussing just how the painting was to look, the colours, and mood etc. I sketched the image on canvas, very lightly with pencil and then with different colored paints. Just getting the proportions and positions correct, deciding on the warm and cool colors, etc.
2. The second image is still working out the values, developing general shapes and values of the fur.
3. In step 3 I'm still working out the background light areas, with the light area forming a diagonal down to the light in the chest, plus using the values to give shape to each of the forms. Making sure the lights are connected and that they lead to or support the face, which is the most important part of the painting.
4. In step 4 I'm developing the actual fur and moving the background more towards a hint of a fall scene. What I wasn't able to pick up in the photos of the painting is that the oranges and yellows are picked up in the white fur and between the brush strokes. This does tie the foreground and background together.
Also I know the "rules/guidelines" prefer that the foreground or subject is in the warm shades and the distance is in the cool shades. However, I wanted Vita to be surrounded by the warmth that a bright fall setting would provide. So I also chose to ignore this "guideline or rule". I wanted Vita to be part of a whole story not just a warm object plunked on a cool color.
5. I then took the painting and made another visit to Vita's home. It was immediately apparent when Vita came to the door that I had him looking much too young and cute.
Back to the studio for revisions, and then another trip to Vita's home to do the final touch ups.
This is the final painting: