Monday, 21 February 2011

Dalmatian Watercolour (work in progress)

Dalmatian Ch Dvojica Voulez Vous (Frida) - work in progress
20" x 16" watercolour on Saunders Waterford 100% cotton rag paper

I thought it might be of interest to show the completed first stage of a watercolour painting. At this point in the procedure, I have painted in the background wash. This wash is made from a mixture of lamp black, burnt sienna and a dash of raw umber and is a very watery mixture. I don't dampen my paper first but lay this wash in as quickly as I possibly can with a 1" wide flat brush. If the phone rings or someone comes to the door when I am doing this part of the painting, I don't answer. I simply can't stop during the laying in of the wash or it will dry leaving horrid hard edges and would need to be thrown away. I don't paint over the dog's head although I don't worry if I overlap a little here and there but I make sure to touch every part of the outline or there would be a noticeable white gap which can't be filled in without it noticing.

As this wash is laid onto dry paper, it doesn't take very long to dry so there's just time for a short coffee break usually! The next area to be worked on is the eyes as I very much dislike looking at a 'dead' dog while I paint. So, for the eyes, I do enough work to enable the dog to look back at me. I usually then paint the nose in but with less detail than the eyes. After these two important areas are finished, I then start to lay in washes of tone and this is the same whether the dog is long or short coated. As these toned areas start to develop it is possible to 'feel' the shape of the dog and model it - in my head I imagine touching that part of the dog which helps to ensure accuracy. As this painting is of a Dalmatian, the spots come next. In fact some of the spots here are a little darker than I prefer and I did lift a little of the colour with clear water before putting in the detail. Although in the final painting it will barely notice, it will just add a touch of depth to the painting.

I will show the completed painting tomorrow with more details about it's creation.

If you have any questions, or would like to commission a painting please either visit the commissions page of my website, or email me at

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