They’ve gone. And to a very good home, where they certainly belong. But I still had a slightly sad moment when the dog pictures were collected this week. Only a bit sad though, not a gut-wrenching depression over it, you understand! I always get slightly emotionally attached to my artwork, even when I’m only creating it because someone has asked me to and I would never have considered painting it if it wasn’t a commission. But, when I’ve put in long hours creating it, and sit back and admire it, and think with pride “Wow, I’ve painted that!” I can’t help but be emotionally attached to it to a degree. But I also know that the painting will be loved and cherished where it’s going to live, so that makes me happy too.
I was asked this week by a friend, who is not artistic, how I knew what to paint the dogs “in”. Interesting question. And one what I can answer instinctively (although perhaps not too much considering that the “instinct” is based on many years experience and lots and lots of practice!). The dogs were painted in acrylic dry on dry (dry paint on a dry paper) as I had to pick up all the little nuances of colour and tone, and give the illusion of hair and fur. Its not a technique that I normally use but its just perfect for animal fur. Having said that I’ve painted a lot of tigers in watercolour using the wet on wet technique (wetting the paper first and pouring the paint on). That technique is lovely for creating swirling shapes and movement, and I use it a lot for the tango paintings too as it gives the illusion of movement, perfect for dancers. And I’m pretty sure when I do the illustrations for the unicorn book I shall use bright watercolours for the lovely mystical colours and shapes that add interest to fantasy paintings. And I adore using oils, although they take a lot longer, as the buttery texture merges and blends so well and the colours just flow, even though painted a different and controlled dry way they can be painted just as dots of bright colour on a contrasting colour well too. And I sometimes draw with pencil, giving lovely tonal depth to a monochrome drawing where colour can be superfluous to the overall effect. And then I sometimes use pastel or chalk to create chunks of colour in a figure drawing, utilising a fine point of the same colour for the details where they are needed. And when I want to be finely detailed in a picture of buildings, pen and ink is perfect for it. And then there’s the joy of using mixed media, and just using whatever is at hand to make interesting textures and create movement and vibrancy in a painting (and usually getting very messy in the process, what joy!!). So, some subjects lend themselves to certain mediums. So, that’s how I knew what to paint the dogs in – acrylics. Of course, if someone wanted a particular piece of artwork painted in oils instead of watercolour, or acrylics instead of pastel, then that’s what I’d do. Its not that difficult to use something else, and it will certainly give a different effect by using differing mediums. And that’s why I’m interested in the effect I’m getting painting over the acrylic painting I did three years ago, but in oils now. The tones are far more subtle for flesh and skin and the painting is so much better for the change. I’m working on the faffy bits now – the tiny details that make or break a painting. The toes, the colour under the arm, the sharpness of focus around the nipple, and particularly the hair. I want the hair to be soft and flowing, the sort you want to run your hands through…..
This is the painting I’m talking about at the moment. It looks so different to this now, already. And I’ve got some more work to do on it. Count this as the skelton to the finished painting – the same design, but filled out more. I don’t even like the original title for it now, and will think of something more fitting for it.
And today I most definitely feel a colour. Do you ever feel a colour? Today my colour is gold with facets of lime green, and with sparks of bright cream coming off it. Yep, most definitely!