Sunday, May 7, 2017

Teddie 010516 12x12

I have started a new series of animal paintings that I plan to unveil at a fundraiser for our local Brown County Humane Society Dawg Gone Walk and Fiesta, May 21, 2017, 1:00-3:30 p.m., where I will have a sponsorship booth.  I am really looking forward to this fun event to help raise money for this wonderful shelter that has a 98% "out alive rate".  They do a spectacular job, especially for a rural shelter in a small community.  Some of the volunteers have even given lectures to national audiences about their innovative and effective programs.

Here is a sneak peek of one of the animal portraits.  This is a painting of my beloved dog, Teddie, who passed away March 2, 2015 at the age of sixteen and left a big hole in my heart. 
He insisted on going on our two mile, daily hike in the forest every day up to the very last week or so.  The last couple of years he walked slower and slower and slower.  One evening, at the end of the trail, I got to the back of my property and waited for him at the gate.  And waited and waited and waited.  By then it was quite dark so I got a flashlight and then re-traced the entire trail looking for him.  I couldn't find him.  

In a near panic, I walked back towards home and asked my other dog, Kendra, "Where's Teddie?  Find Teddie."  About halfway back home, she stopped along the trail and stared down towards the creek.  I flashed my light in that direction and saw Teddie had dropped down to the creek to follow it to our back hill.  I think he was having a hard time seeing the trail after it got dark.  A sense of relief washed over me.  Boy, was I happy to see him!

After that incident, I would stop at various points on the trail and wait for him to catch up.  I never let him out of sight for very long.  I can usually walk the two miles in forty five minutes at a relaxed pace(less if I am in a hurry) but, as Teddie got older and older, I eventually had to budget 1 1/2 hours for our walk.  

Sometimes he would be asleep at walk time and I couldn't rouse him to go so I would take off without him.  I only left him behind once or twice because when I got back home, he would be fully awake and mad as a hornet at me for leaving him behind. 

So for this painting of Teddie, I started by selecting a reference photo that I shot some years ago that captures the spirit of my boy with his fluffy, Benji type fur.  Then I roughed in a loose sketch with alizarin and cerulean paint mixed with oil.  I used a paint brush to paint in the sketch.

I switch to my favorite palette knives and start blocking in the shadows on the body and ground and the darkest parts of the nose, mouth, and eye.
I continue to work the background using a combination of light spring greens and a gray violet.  I finish blocking in the fur on the body and face. I soften the line where his back end meets the background so that it recedes in the distance.
Now that the basic "under fur" has been painted in, I go back on top with the lighter wisps and strands of his fuzzy fur.  I work from the back of his body to the front so the front fur sits on top of the back fur.
The fur on his head often stuck straight up, wisped up with static electricity more than the picture shows so I painted how I remembered him.  In the end, I felt like I captured Teddie's spirit and felt like he was here with me as I finished the painting.
Here's the final painting under natural light where the colors are more accurate than the photos of the painting in progress shot indoors under artificial light.
"Teddie", oil on panel, 12" x 12", Code #010516 S 12x12

Thanks for following along!

Happy Trails!



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