View Full Version : Help, Please....doing first ever dog portrait!

09-15-2005, 02:43 PM
Here goes....this is a Rotweiller that was my parents. I would like to paint her portrait (along with a background of nastruium, sorry about my poor spelling).
I have drawn the dog several times and now have it in a value study and drawn out on paper.
So far I have painted it out on paper using colbalt blue and have worked out some color choices....along side on paper.
Using....Daler and Rowney prof grade watercolor....colbalt blue, burnt sienna, mauve, and indian yellow. I plan on using the mauve/bs mixture for the darkest darks.
Looking for a real washy look...my impression of the dog.
What do you think of the start I have here...and where should I go next....eyes of course? Just have to get up my courage.
Any comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Xposted in animals/wildlife forum.
Thanks, JoLynn

09-15-2005, 03:58 PM
Good start!!!!! Your colour choices look good, just jump right in and paint (do the part you are most worried about first, then if it does go wrong you won't lose as much time ;) )


09-15-2005, 06:38 PM
When i used to do dog portraits I focused first on getting the area of the eyes, nose and mouth close to done by making sure to make those areas in the light, of warmest color and have the greatest detail and contrast .

there are some I did several years ago...the scans are pretty bad but they do show the values pretty well....i hope this helps

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Sep-2005/21767-papillon_Small_Web_view.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Sep-2005/21767-weavemonster_Small_Web_view.jpg

09-15-2005, 10:31 PM
Ah yes, thank you Cristina Paints....this look is what I am trying to achieve.
So here I am now...
And thanks madmum...I figure what ever time I put in to it I should learn something....right! :p

Please C & C greatly appreciated!

09-15-2005, 10:32 PM
PS...I know it looks like the (viewers) r eye looks "pointed" at the top apex....but this dog had this expression...like she was questioning you....understand?
thanks again.

09-16-2005, 08:52 AM
She sure does have a questioning look, I see that look in my Dalmatian Bayley's eyes..

09-16-2005, 12:04 PM
Hi Jolly...
I've painted a Rotweiller...my cousins dog ....here is a link...might help just to see another example....
This was painted on Fabriano rough....and is only 8 x 8 inches...
Hester (http://www.laureneverettfinn.com/wk24.html)

You have a good start here! They are lovely dogs...
Watching and cheering you on.... :clap:


09-16-2005, 12:16 PM
Great facial expression Jolly Painter!! keep going..

09-16-2005, 12:26 PM
Thank so much for your support and your wonderful example....can I ask what color(s) you used for the "black"....I am going to try mauve and burnt sienna, and paint pretty much out of the tube....wanted a purple to compliment the yellow/orange flowers I plan to paint with the dog....what do you think? Can I achieve a dog that we all know as black and not paint a purple dog? Would really appreciate your comments.
thanks, JoLynn

09-16-2005, 12:54 PM
Glad I checked the computer while waiting for my coffee :D ...

I'm quite sure I used indigo and Quinacridone (sp?) sienna and q. gold..
.lol about a purple dog... I would LOVE a purple dog....I don't have mauve but i think it's a dark warmish(?) purple..I think your color choices are good...went back to see your palette...looks like you've started with the mauve and bs mix for the nose...I think it looks great! I'd stay the course if I were you....if your values are right it will read correctly if it were blue, purple or green! My only caution would be your color temperatures...warm dog and warm b/g....but that could be adjusted as you go....she has nice cool spots in her underpainting now....looks great!


Strawberry Wine
09-16-2005, 04:34 PM
JoLynn: The nose is perfect!!!!! That eye wont look pointed once you get in the raised eyebrow area. Waiting and watching.

You could also P.M. Ellen in Ont she is the pet portrait wizzard. I am sure she could advise on coat colour for you.



09-16-2005, 06:08 PM
Thanks Straw wine....will look into asking her a few questions.
Lauren...I think your right...go the course and stay with what I have choosen. Do you think the BS is enough to keep this painting "warm" with all the purple?

I have been thinking of the background....want to do nasturtium...so painted this 8 x 10 to get a feel of comp and color. Will place it in the bottom L of painting....key leaves point to eye. And the upper R of this example will not be in the picture.
What do you think....?
PS I am not a PS wizard (I'll leave that to Brian B, haha) otherwise I would have composted the two images together....hope you can see where I am going now...?!

Strawberry Wine
09-16-2005, 06:32 PM
Jo Lyn, love those nasturtiams(sp?) Just keep them soft and delicate so as not to create two focal points.



09-16-2005, 10:11 PM
Straw wine, ah, thank you for the reminder....your right.

T Christensen
09-16-2005, 10:42 PM
Hey ..whats the deal ?...You didn't show this to me ......I could tell you were kind of excited about something . He looks fab , eyes are wonderful .... ok now I'm going to give my ideas . I agree to make the flowers more transparent , the dog will be pretty opaque but it would look cool to make your foreground move softly into his lower edges , use a color in both the dog and fg to tie them together . Blend the lower parts of the flowers in this wash also . Keep the flower colors soft but add hard edges using a brighter color . I think the best way to make it black is to not use too much . Using layers start with a color like red in areas then layer with a blue then in other shadows use the mauve and last ..take a black mix and push it in the darkest areas only , then an indigo wash where needed . Whew ...I feel like I'm there . Keep the light above and behind him including the bg . I'm done ...........Now you do it :) , just kidding ...ignore me .....excited to see what you do ..looking good now ..TC

09-17-2005, 06:51 AM
Morning :wave:
ok...now I get it....palette looks good to me....so the nasturtiums will be a sort of border? you could put another smaller nastur. treatment in the upper right also to balance....and like Terry... I'd make sure to add a bit of the Rototiller colors into the nasturtiums and vicey versa :D ...just a touch to unite the 2 elements...Terry C has given lots of good advice... Looks terrific JoLynn :clap:


09-17-2005, 07:42 PM
Thanks Lauren for you ideas. I really like tying everything together...my main focus is the dog and I love to do flowers, so I will have to work hard on keeping the flowers low key.

Yeah, Terry, I have had this painting in my head for awhile. And started with some drawings, etc. Things are going well....but I keep asking myself why am I punishing myself. This is hard.
I did a small painting of the dog to see how my colors would work. I will not post it....to horrible. :eek:
I have a heavy hand and like bold colors, as you know, and it came out tooooo strong. Yuck. Now I just don't know what to do.? It also came out like a purple dog. Just what I was afraid of.
Seriously thinking of scraping the mauve/burnt sienna. I don't have indigo on my pallette. Does it have "black" in it?

AUGH.... :eek:

T Christensen
09-17-2005, 08:56 PM
ok ....keep calm ..you can do it ....:)

Indigo is a blue black ...I also use paynes gray , Indigo has a little less blue in it .... prussian blue may work also . What they do is deaden the color like a shadow . Try it on a scratch maybe use a bright color like magenta than wash over it heavy with your dark blue , it will dry lighter . Need to layer to see the depth . If you look at my "Cowboy " on my site close up I did this a lot . You will need to have more color in the lighter values . Instead of using mauve ,a light layer of a red with another layer of a blue than maybe sepia . Not sure of your pallette. At least thats my way , I like to sculpt it using bright colors and then layer it with dark washes where needed . ...show us what you've done ...I'm sure its better than you think ..TerryC

09-17-2005, 09:26 PM
Jolynn, I like what you've done so far, and that flower picture is just gorgeous!!
Can't wait to see what you'll do with all the great advice you've been given. By the way, the eyes are perfect!!