Watching every move
Acrylic on wood Size 32X24
Recently I've been enjoying myself painting different subjects. This is a great example of one - a Jack Russell terrier! Painting a dog is a great departure from my usual subject matter and I found it great fun to to paint. You see to me clearly there's a lot of similarities to painting traditional portraiture, and one thing I always strive for with my 'people' portraits is not only a likeness, but also an importance of paint and the painting itself. In other words it's not enough to simply capture the person, but the painting should have a creative power or perhaps style of it's own.
When working on a 'person' portrait I find this balance between painting and likeness to be a dangerous and challengeing line to walk. However when approaching this dog portrait I found the battle easier, I was able to push colors and composition with greater ease, creating an effective and dramatic painting. (Perhaps the reason for this was a more obedient 'sitter')
A very early inspiration for me was to keep the color fairly monochromatic, with strong reds and a tonally contrasting dog - with very dark head tones.
(in progress detail of rug)
As you'll see here, I originally planned to paint the rug with greater complexity in it's patterning. I tried at great length to make this work, with numerous iterations of detail and colors; until I ultimately realized to make the whole painting work I needed to step away from the design aspects and focus on the compositional and tonal impact. I did however keep the circular shapes from table to rug that leads 'the eye' through the top of the painting, down to the dog focal point.