Gemstones & Garth

“Garth is a Gem”

Portrait #10 for my 14×28 Furry Friends of February challenge. “Gemstones & Garth” is a 7.5″x11″ watercolor on 140lb Arches cold press. Click on the image to bring up a larger view in a new browser tab.

Garth just popped out on the paper with speed and pleasantry. I had gone to his home earlier in the day for a photoshoot. Garth is of the Corgi breed. My Little (from Big Brothers Big Sisters) had previously indicated this is her favorite dog type. Since my good friend Betty lives with Garth, I asked permission to photograph her pup. Later in the day, I had fun-time scheduled with Little, so I was prepared with oodles of Corgi shots.

To my surprise, Little wanted to watch me do the painting. I set her up with a “Little Table” in front of my studio projection screen, so she could watch the process. I told her I wanted to record the painting process, did she mind? Not only did she not mind, but we also set her up with her own mike so she could be the “studio audience” for my “Puppy Painting, Live!” video adventure.

Her favorite watercolor pigment is Lapis Lazuli (it’s a gemstone character in her Steven Universe series). It is a beautifully soft, Daniel Smith warm blue pigment (very expensive) that is also transparent and granulating with tiny sparkles of light when dry. I thought it would be perfect for the shadow whites of the dog’s fur. I also used New Gamboge, Pyrrol Red (both by Daniel Smith) and Ultramarine Light (Holbein).

I had previously drawn the contour lines of the subject off-camera, with Little as my witness. That is when she informed me she would like to watch me paint him. I had taken the photos with my iPad for the photoshoot (which eliminated the laborious need of transferring the photo reference from another camera to the iPad. whew!). I enjoy using the iPad photo as my reference when painting because I can zoom in and out on the image as needed.

I saturated the paper, then dried some spots back to damp. I started with milky pigment strength because the paper was really wet. I caressed in the first layer of value, while everything was really glossy, except at the damp spots I had created at the top of the nose, back of the head, ear, and under the nose and chin. Drying those spots back to damp kept those edges soft, rather than lost. I called out the overall “dog shape” by painting around. I used all four pigments in the background, letting them blend and mix on the paper.

I did use the blow drier on the nose, eyes, ear, and back of the head; to speed the process. Once dry (ish), I added the darks on the features and behind the head.

I quite like the painting. It flew off the brush in about 30-40 minutes (I’ll have to check the timing on the video clips). I credit my “Little Muse” for providing the perfect environment for creativity <smile>.

Now to edit the audio and video for the collaborative creation, between my Little and me. We were both all smiles in the end.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *