Meet Neal . . . an adorable French Bulldog, which I had the joyous opportunity to paint as a commissioned pet portrait. The miniature painting measuring just 3 ½ X 3 ½ inches was a surprise birthday present, and I was thrilled to play a part in making someone so very happy! With pet portraits I love learning something special about them, such as the soulful look in Neal’s eyes. Capturing that sweet look was of upmost importance, so after drawing him and laying in a few thin lines, I started painting on his eyes first thing.
Knowing that I had the eyes pretty much like I wanted them, I began painting on other areas. I like establishing value contrast at the beginning, so I chose to paint a basic outline of the nose and snout.
After filling it in with a basic dark wash, I painted a light pinkish wash in the ears, as well as a light tan on the body. Since I paint with watercolor, it dries pretty fast, although you can see it’s still wet in this photo.
Then starts the task of slowly building up color, with multiple washes of paint.
I much prefer slowly building up color, because painting with watercolor, once it’s down, it’s almost impossible to remove!
Over time, the colors start to deepen and grow richer with each wash of paint.
Once I had a good basic feeling with the fur, I started painting the blanket, on which he is laying.
I painted a very light wash which will be the base color of the blanket.
Then starts the fun, but tedious task of carefully painting in the intricate design, and for this, I pretty much draw with the paint brush.
Slowly and very carefully I keep building color with my tiny brush until I’ve achieved the rich, dark red I desire.
Next comes the first wash of paint on the background.
I chose to use a lovely bluish gray color to compliment the nice warm coloration of his fur. At this point much time is spent painting texture in the fur, adding the darkest darks and finally the highlights, until I have it just like I want it. If you’d like to commission a pet portrait of your own special friend, EMAIL me for more info.
Now that I’ve shared with you several of the techniques I use to paint a pet portrait, here’s a video of the painting from start to finish on YouTube you’ll want to see, so CLICK HERE TO WATCH and Enjoy! 🙂
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Until Next Time ~ Rachelle