I love dogs, horses, cats and bird portraits because I guess I have just loved animals forever. At one point in my life I had dreams of becoming a veterinarian but then I got the news that more than a dozen years of study were involved with that and my interests shifted. Thank goodness. I would not be having this much fun painting all those critters if I had followed that dream to fruition.
There is no better achievement for me than being able to capture an expression in any portrait. Even simple and quick paintings can capture an emotion.
I have been able to add tones of neutral brown to her body and face to read as gray to black fur and am now satisfied with Stella. The background is toned down and darkened enough to not compete with her face for attention. I do believe we are almost completed.
Note the crop lines around her that show the final 11×17 size.Here is how it looks after it is cropped.
Stella’s face is coming to life now adding the final darks and lights around her eyes really brings out her expression. Her nose has brought it out. The light area around her snout seems to bring her nose closer to you. With the nose I have noticed that a great deal of detail is needed to show in black and white where the wet parts are that show shine to look real. Shiny things have highlights that are not blended but instead kind of paint-by-number.
You have probably noticed that I have done a lot of work on the background painting in the tree/bush branches then putting a barage of leaves in colors ranging from light to dark green and even purple. Am still not in love with the background and will have to do more on it.
I am gradually adding warm tones to her face along with shadow work with blues, gray and brown around her eyes. A gray or black fur is best started with blue for me adding small amounts of black or purple for different tones. Reds also help and my favorite combo to use is greens and red mixes instead of black. It seems to be a better darker color. On the background, I am trying out some brown tones on the branches but am getting an uneasy feeling about how distracting it is from focus on her face.