View Full Version : Charlie Brown - red tri colour Australian Shepherd pup

10-30-2010, 10:41 PM
I posted this on WIP a few days back but think I may have put it in the wrong area. I'd love to hear some people's thoughts, so I thought maybe this and the animals forum would be a good spot to pop it? :D

Title: Charlie Brown - red tri colour Australian Shepherd pup
Medium: acrylic
Surface: generic dollarstore cotton canvas
Dimension: 4x6" (10x15cm)
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

Colours used: crimson, yellow ochre, naples yellow, pthalo blue, raw umber, burnt umber, burnt sienna, paynes grey, titanium white.

From yesterday

And today
Reference photo:

The background is my biggest question. I am not sure about anything with it! I like the colour but can't decide if it's too same-same, don't think I nailed the lighting and shadows etc. :o Would love tips on if more or less, different colours/glazes etc would help?

I made the paw near the face fuller but I'm not sure that works. Thoughts?

I'm also not sure the white of his facial blaze isn't too intense compare to the rest of him - I did put a lot of colour washes onto it (raspberry, blue, olivey-greyed-greens etc) and then glaze white over it but I think maybe I glazed too many times in some areas. The photo looks fairly intensely white but I'm not sure I like it so white in the painting.

The highlighting on the fur was another question - in the photo it is quite streaky looking because of the lighting. He's only 8 weeks old and in Aussie pups that means a cottony undercoatish puppy fluff vs a shiney adult coat. Anything you can think of to make it look nicer, more dimensional or more realistic would be great, especially if you have a photo or video to learn it! I would eventually like to shoot for a highly realistic style and can't get to classes so critiques are and reading here are my main ways of improving! :thumbsup:

Whiskers - I did them as fine as possible with a 10/0 brush and thinned paint (water) on a dampened surface so it traveled lightly but they still look clunky and distracting. I tried to suggest them (at their widest and most opaque point, leaving out the finer more translucent tips) rather than paint the whole thing out. Tips? Thoughts?

The eyes - cartoonish, the eyelashes - rather similar issue to the whiskers!

Last bit - too late to do it now but in the future if I'm working small scale and wanting detail, would I be better off with a smoother canvas? (Either a few extra gesso layers or finer weave and/or both?)

Congrats if you read this far - it's my second painting and I'm more enthusiasm but little knowledge atm. ;p

10-30-2010, 11:45 PM
Your second painting ever?! Wow, I love it! I really like the background in the start picture, but I'm no expert...just doing studies in acrylics myself and pretty frustrated with myself. Did you draw the pup out first and paint it in? I'm just looking to get some ideas for doing stuff of my own.

Anyway, I love dogs and this one is especially beautiful!:wave:

10-31-2010, 12:14 AM
Yep, second painting and first finished. (First painting is still suffering my my lack of ability to figure out artsy backgrounds.) I decided in Sept to stop wishing for 'proper classes... one day' and just teach myself after discovering youtube and WC! I started with pencils and pen and then got a set of paints/brushes/canvas at the dollar store. I'll get better stuff eventually. :)

The initial background suffered as I'd gotten a tube of Atelier Interactives as my first 'nice paint' and turned out to be a faulty tube so the paint was peeling up all over.

I drew the puppy out first, the really aweome artists here and on youtube always seem to start out with fairly detailed sketches so I figured it's a good idea. I grid sketch for the paintings and have a piece of plastic I traced a grid on too, so I can lay it on the painting and compare to my reference photo to it to ensure I'm keeping proportions accurate.

10-31-2010, 03:12 PM
Hi, I think you captured him perfectly, I love the whiskers, I dont see them as too thick, I can see your problem with the background, the canvas showing thru/texture of it.
I think his eyes are as you see them in the photo, but there maybe a little of the sky reflecting in the, sometime a dark bluish tint here and there and a gray/white for a light reflection/highlight gives it a little more light. Look closely sometimes its hard in photos I often use a magnifying glass to see different tones in the eyes etc.
for future, no matter how cheap the canvas.. gesso it a few times different directions with the foam brush with lightly sanding it inbetween to fill in more of the canvas.
I ofthen in my backgrounds use thicker paint and dabbing the brush, my now curlie tipped brush on the the background so I get a mottled look and do it here and there with different tones/colors. Doing the bottom darker then the top will give it a more grounded appearance. feel free to check out some of my paintings to get ideas.. I've done alot of dogs/cats,cows etc.
Your doing great, you have a real talent for just starting out painting in acrylics.. I'm sure with each one you will improve as I did.

Keep up the great work!!

11-02-2010, 02:30 AM
Yes, the canvas does show through too much, I think because I paint in very thin washes of paints layered up over the basic block in. I think I will have to save and get some gesso as well, was looking at the shops at that and the varnishes but we're on a dollar store budget atm.

May I ask what sort of brush you use for the BG and if it's better slightly stiffer bristled or more soft? ATM I have a detail and 2x flat rectangle type in 1/4 and 1/8th" sizes. Your backgrounds are similar to what I have in mind from what I saw on your blog, the lovely studio look that compliments but still leaves focus on the subject.

11-02-2010, 11:44 AM
Well done and soooo cute. Honestly the texture of the canvas showing through is not a problem for me, you'll have less of a problem with Portrait canvasses if you're not happy with the outcome or gesso and sand the heck out of it before you apply your paint, but it's on a canvas and the texture for me doesn't interfere at all with the work you've done in my opinion. It's excellent!


11-02-2010, 01:13 PM
Wonderful painting. (A painting is not photo) I have been working hard on this concept! I love Charlie Brown's character showing through. Doug