Author: Dave_(Iconoclast)_Dowbyhuz, Contributing Editor
|My approach to painting has evolved from necessity. The scarcity of free time available to me has placed limits on how much I can accomplish in any one span of time. The style I will outline in the following pages works well for those that have a busy life. One where you have to start and stop a painting on a regular basis. The actual labor in this demo spanned slightly more than one month.
I possess neither patience, nor discipline, and I almost never paint 'from life.' Resigning yourself to painting from photographs can be limiting, but it neednít be! Providing you have a reasonably keen eye, a smattering of talent, and the desire to succeed, photos can be an invaluable asset.
|Case in point. You will do well to give a lot of consideration to your source material. With regards to composition and lighting, leave as little to chance as possible. A poor source will place undue stress of where you can take the painting. My subject of choice was my dog, Melvin, a rather oafish Basset Hound. He brims with character and personality, and I wanted to capture those qualities, and create not just a portrait of a dog, but this dog! Here is the reference photo I will be working from, the product of quite a few false starts. If youíve ever tried to photograph a dog that knows youíre trying to, youíll appreciate what I mean.|
|Once Iím satisfied with the photo reference, which I am for this portrait, I begin the drawing. There are diverging opinions on whether a very detailed drawing is the key or even necessary towards the success of a painting. I believe it is. This drawing will serve two purposes. One, it establishes the composition in space, helps me visualize, and allows me to adjust basic values in graphite before any color goes down. Secondly, I simply love to draw!|
|An early capture of the features and expression can serve to build confidence, an essential quality that I cannot begin to adequately estimate the value of.|
|With the drawing complete, I apply a good coat of spray, workable and erasable fixative, which is noxious and should be used in a well ventilated area. It seals the drawing to the canvas, preventing any lead from mixing with and dirtying the paint. Do not use damar or an other spray varnish at this stage. Those products will leave the surface as slippery as glass to which paint will not adhere. The workable fixative leaves very little properties behind besides sealing the drawing. Once the spray has had an opportunity to dry, usually no more than 20-30 minutes, it is time to begin the next stage of the painting.|