Matanuska is the working title for this painting. When I consider the painting finished, I may rename it.
The dog belongs to a former co-worker. When I first received the emailed photo I knew it was portrait material; it was really cute.
I've had the photo for about 3 years. It has taken me a while to gather up courage to attempt painting a furry animal. Along with other art classes, I attend a studio workshop and decided to plunge into the fall semester with Matanuska.
The reference photo stands on its own. It gets ooohhs! and aaahhs! in class. The dog's owner tooked the photo and it is definitely "print, frame, and smile" quality. I don't want to compete with it, so, for now, I won't be posting it.
To get a quick start I blew up the photo and outline traced it onto the 11"x14" canvas. I started with a Burnt Sienna value study underpainting and then quickly went into an alla prima overpainting. On the first day from a blank canvas to what you see above took about 4-5 hours. I was moving so fast, I forgot to take progress photos.
I used every imaginable mixture of Burnt Umber, Ivory Black, Gray (Gamblin), White, and Ultramarine Blue to block-in the background. To the "gray" combinations, I added some green for the foreground block-in.
I concentrated on Matanuska's eyes for the 4 hour second session. I adjusted size and configuration of the eyes to convey more of the animal's personality. I painted the pupils primarily with Ivory Black mixtures. The irises were created from Gray, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, and White.