Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Boston Terrier Phase 2

Here are two phases in the Boston Terrier. The first is the initial placement of washes, just blocking in of color with a little texture. I achieve the texture by using the "chisel edge" of my brush through the wet paint. All I'm doing at this point is getting an idea of the general direction of hair growth. The direction the hair grows is very important and can really throw off a portrait. I have found you can't always rely on what the photo shows on hair growth. Some areas may look almost flat, but you may need to "round out" the hairs to make that cheek "pop" or flatten hairs to get an area to recede. So, don't be afraid to make those judgement calls----you will know if it is working or not---trust your artist eye. After I finish the initial block in, I always take a little break. Get up and move around--don't keep staring at the portrait. Give yourself a chance to come back with "fresh eyes" for your next round.
Here in the second photo, I worked primarily on the right side. Here I start to lay in those first batch of hairs. I generally start with a mid tone or slightly darker value than the initial wash. Remember I'm looking for shapes now, areas of dark against light. I'll will worry about blending later. I also did a little more work in the eye area. The eyes have been a bit of a challenge. First, there is a lot more "white of the eye" showing and 2nd, they are quite large and not shaped the way you would expect. The "white of the eye" isn't really white---in this case it has a slight pink tint from the blood vessels of the eye. The shape of the whole eyeball is of course round, but the Iris is somewhat flat on one side. Tricky, but I think I'm getting there. I've been working for about 5 hours and that is usually my max! It is hard to quit, there is always one more thing to "fix" or start anew. Once my eyes start to tire, I know it is time to quit for the day. I always put the portrait away---where I can't continually look at it and "pick it apart". Somehow it always looks better the next day! I used to tell my students that the "paint fairy" would come to visit sometime in the night if they were good little artist! Hope I have been a "goode" little artist!

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