Leo: A Dog Portrait in Oil and Gouache

Portrait of Leo, Formosan Mountain Dog, oil on panel, 8x10 in

Portrait of Leo, Formosan Mountain Dog, oil on panel, 8×10 in

Leo is the same breed as my pup Millie, a Formosan Mountain Dog (both rescued from the streets of Taiwan), except Leo has dark brindle fur which I found much more difficult to paint than Millie’s blonde fur, especially when working from a photo (at bottom of post) without much variation in light and shadow to help create dimension and volume on a surface that is already so varied and random.

Study for Leo Dog Portrait, gouache on paper, 8x10 in

Study for Leo Dog Portrait, gouache on paper, 8×10 in

Before starting the oil painting I did the above quick gouache study to send to the collector who commissioned the painting to give her a sense of what I was planning. I hadn’t decided yet whether to include their backyard.

Below are a few steps during the work in process and the original photo I worked from.

I got really interested in painting the ferns on the left in the photo but decided to simplify the background, which was attracting my eye more than the doggie. I changed Leo’s fur coloring a bit in the painting based on some additional photo references that showed the fur as being darker and warmer-colored than in this photo. I’m so glad Leo’s people are happy with the painting!

EDIM 11: Headgear (Self Portrait with Ice Wrap)

EDIM 11 Headgear (Migraine Ice Pack Wrap) graphite and watercolor, 10x7 in

EDIM 11 Headgear (Migraine Ice Pack Wrap) graphite and watercolor, 10×7 in

I had a migraine on May 11 and wore my jaunty blue migraine ice pack/wrap over a green scarf until the  meds kicked in. If I wear the ice pack without a scarf under it, the pain of my head freezing only makes the migraine feel better by comparison. The weight of the pack made my ears stick out which made it fun to draw them.

I should have left the pencil drawing unpainted. I think the color took away from the dimensionality I’d gotten with just pencil and white paper and now the shading looks like I’m growing a beard.

EDiM 8, 9, 10: Handle, Label and On-Off Switch

EDIM 8-9 Handle and Label, ink & watercolor, 8x10 in

EDIM 8-9 Handle and Label, ink & watercolor, 8×10 in

Every Day in May 8 was “Draw Something With a Handle.” This is my new Presto Flip Waffle Maker with an impressive handle that allows you to close the machine and flip it so that the waffle batter covers both sides of the grids evenly (or stand it up for storage). I was skeptical, given I was trying to make very untraditional waffles (from oat flour, without oil) but it worked great.

EDIM 9 is Draw an Interesting Label. I liked the colorful Jamaican beach scene and bright green bottle on the Reeds Ginger Beer.

EDIM 10-On/Off Switch (Hairdryer), ink and watercolor, 8x10 in

EDIM 10-On/Off Switch (Hairdryer), ink and watercolor, 8×10 in

EDIM 10 is Something with an On-Off Switch and I used my handy hair dryer on my watercolor table. I was tempted to repurpose the waffle iron for 8 and 10 since time was short, but the whole point is to get drawing practice so I did.

EDiM Medley: Days 5, 6, 7

EDiM 5-6-7: Hot, Bristles, Envelope, ink and watercolor, 8x10

EDiM 5-6-7: Hot, Bristles, Envelope, ink and watercolor, 8×10

May 5 was “Draw Something Hot.” I went for the obvious, a cup of hot tea because I like this cup and I was short on imagination and time due to some “first world problems” (iPhone went bad and required way too many wasted hours to restore it).

May 6 was “Something with Bristles.” I wanted to draw the odd, bristly whiskers under my dog’s chin but she wouldn’t hold still long enough. Instead here’s a bristly bottle brush with a bonus soft cotton tip. I bought it to clean something I apparently no longer own since I haven’t used it in years and can’t remember what it was for. I created the bristles by painting in watercolor and then adding white gel pen.

May 7 was “Envelope” and this is the Mothers Day card and envelope I sent to my mom after I sketched it.

Every Day in May 3 and 4: Curtains and Spice Bottles

Every Day in May 4: Spice Bottles, ink and watercolor, 8x5 in

Every Day in May 4: Spice Bottles, ink and watercolor, 8×5 in

I have a whole rack of Penzeys spices but these are my favorites that sit out on the counter for daily use. Their pepper is nothing like the tasteless stuff from the supermarket; it has wonderful flavor and I put it on almost everything. Their cinnamon is sweet and delicious and the Sandwich Sprinkle is great on salads, veggies and meat.

Every Day in May 3: Curtain, ink and watercolor, 8x10 in

Every Day in May 3: Curtain, ink and watercolor, 8×10 in

I have such a tiny bathroom I had to sit on the sink to draw this. My favorite part was drawing the funny patterns on the glass blocks in the window. When I remodeled the bathrooms in my duplex I requested glass blocks in the shower and a window that opens set inside the glass blocks. The wavy glass was fun to draw and is meant to provide privacy but in reality, it’s not perfect. Good thing the neighborhood doesn’t have a few of the window! Also featured in the sketch is my Black and Decker dog washing shower attachment that makes it super easy to wash my dog and she loves hopping in the tub for her spa treatment.

Every Day in May 3-4: Curtain and Spice Bottles, ink and watercolor, 8x10 in

Every Day in May 3-4: Full page, 8×10 in

Every Day in May: Days 1 and 2

EDiM 1: Food Food: Defrosting Burger, graphite and watercolor, 8x7.25 in

EDiM 1: Food Food: Defrosting Burger, graphite and watercolor, 8×7.25 in

Day 1 of Every Day in May 2015 is supposed to be a favorite food and although I do enjoy the occasional burger, ground beef isn’t really a favorite eat…but this vacuum-sealed package of defrosting-as-I-drew meat was certainly a favorite to draw.

EDiM 2: Tree (Baby Cherry Tree), ink and watercolor, 4.5x8 in

EDiM 2: Tree (Baby Cherry Tree), ink and watercolor, 4.5×8 in

Day 2’s cue is “A nearby tree” and my next-door neighbor’s adorable little baby flowering cherry called out to be drawn before the puffy flowers fall. I meant to fit the whole tree on the page but I started in ink with the top left branch and drew too big so only the top left side of the tree fit. Oh well.

 

EDiM 1 and 2: Food (Defrosting Ground Beef) and Tree (Baby Flowering Cherry)

EDiM 1 and 2: Full page in sketchbook, ink and watercolor, 8×10 in 

It felt so good to just draw for fun in my sketchbook again after weeks of working on two commissioned paintings that are finally approaching completion. I needed to get back to playing in my sketchbook again, whether the paintings were finished or not, so EDiM came along just at the right time.

For me, it will probably be more like Every-ish Day… or (Almost) Every Day… or Some Days in May since I have a lot of other things going on this month. However many days it is, any day that I get to draw is a good day!

If you want to join in the fun, check out the Facebook Group or the Flickr Group and click to join. Everyone is welcome to play any time during the month.

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