View Full Version : Cattle Dog

Marty Shay
09-06-2011, 05:17 PM
Posting the first stage of my next commission, a 16 x20 acrylic on canvas portrait of a very inquiring Australian Cattle Dog. This pretty boy is a blue mottled so lots of under color before work begins on the outer coat. He has a soft look in his eyes, have just blocked them in as well as developing the general direction of the fur. He has an intriguing quizzical turn to his head as if he's ready to ask a question of his owner. Usually don't post early so perhaps I can post progress in a couple more photographs. Owner wanted a "blue background", I've added a little interest with a few points of color over the blue that will accent the boy's coat color. Will see how I like that before I get too far along on the coat detail.

C&C's welcome.


09-06-2011, 09:08 PM
I love watching WIPs! I can't wait to see him come to life!

chammi kaiser
09-07-2011, 10:37 AM
I am pulling up a chair. Looks great and I am so looking forward to each stage. Thanks so much for sharing.

Marty Shay
09-07-2011, 12:28 PM
Thanks Melissa and Chammi. Posting another after work yesterday on the boy. If there is one thing I'm not, it's fast!! (Guess that's why I don't post WIP's, they have to be boring--at least of my work, :)). Have done no work on the eyes yet, working on blocking out coat color and some work on ears. Also "puffed" out the shoulders a little, this boy is thin through his shoulders, think the photo was taken when he was very young and not developed a lot there, so getting a little "meat" on him. Maybe next one will be a lot better, :). I always hit a point when I think it's not going to come together, I guess everyone does but more "paint and time" usually gets me through that hard spot. As always, C&C welcome.


Charlie's Mum
09-07-2011, 01:17 PM
always hit a point when I think it's not going to come together - you are definitely not alone there!!! :lol:

He's emerging beautifully - I'm sure this will be just as good as your others!:D

09-07-2011, 05:14 PM
You've caught that earnest, quizzical look so well! Will be eagerly waiting for the finished version.

09-07-2011, 07:46 PM
I love the look on his face, and I like the progress so far, good luck Marty looking forward to seeing the completed painting I know it will be really very nice portrait of the dog.

Dancing Rabbit
09-07-2011, 07:56 PM
Love that happy puppy grin! I too love when people post wips, and I am looking forward to seeing your painting progress it looks like it is off to a beautiful start!

09-07-2011, 08:09 PM
Nice start I will be watching the out come of this. Thanks for posting a WIP

Marty Shay
09-07-2011, 09:24 PM
Thanks, everyone, you are so kind. Maybe I'll get a little more concentrated time on him tomorrow and especially on Friday and be able to post an updated on Saturday. Appreciate all the encouraging posts.

09-07-2011, 10:44 PM
Off to a great start Janet!!

Marty Shay
09-12-2011, 03:11 PM
Thank you, Kathie.

Unfortunately other things pulled me away the end of last week, can't let that happen this week. Posting my work so far since last post, eyes are in (eyeballs--not fur surrounding), work on putting color into ears, getting some mottling ideas for cheeks and worked on nose--still more to do there obviously. Posting is increasing my stress, :) , maybe because my progress isn't as much as hoped for or perhaps because I see so many areas still to work on and little is finished enough to totally move away from that area. (However, I find that to be true almost always until the last strokes are added :), perhaps I don't like seeing it in photographs since I don't photograph until much later in the process). Anyway, C&Cs welcome.

09-12-2011, 04:36 PM
I have a hard time with WIPs..simply because I get so engrossed I forget but I do understand that they can be a bit un-nerving but this is already fabulous.
We all know what it's like and it's so interesting and helpful to see you see the little nuances that will fill the surface at the end and watch the talent produce them in every new post.
Thank you for doing it this way...I love it so far.


09-12-2011, 05:25 PM
I'm in love with this dog :D
You've done a beautiful job already! I like it that you take pictures frequently, because it helps me to understand how you build up the fur.

Marty Shay
09-12-2011, 08:34 PM
Thanks Elaine and Eveline: I've had to walk away a time or two this afternoon to keep an uncontrolled response of hitting the canvas :wink2: , reminding myself that it will take much more time to start over!!!!!! I came back and thought, "ok, well, not as bad as it was the last time I looked at it----only a few minutes before :) ". Wow, there are so many mottles on this boy I forget where I am from the distance of loading my brush to the canvas--a space of about 6" :), --much like a road map, I have to find that "intersection" and follow it to the next spot.

It is a process of laying on the color in stages for fur with this many splotches, he's quite a uniquely colored mottled cattle dog but then every mottled cattle dog is very unique--that's what makes them so individual, almost like a fingerprint--no two are alike--and their owners know every little spot!

chammi kaiser
09-13-2011, 03:42 AM
He is gorgeous. Not easy all those splotches. Looking forward to how you handle that.

09-13-2011, 06:21 AM
I think he looks like he's coming along fabulously, although I sympathize with the frusteration you feel as they progress through the "puppy uglies" as well as the challenge of painting mottled dogs. I've not painted Heelers but Aussie Shepherds offer similar mapping challenges. LOL

Marty Shay
09-13-2011, 09:59 AM
Thanks Chammi and WYSIWYG: yesterday was one of some frustration that I attribute a lot to pushing myself to make up for lost time on this boy this past weekend. He must be finished and ready for his trip home by the middle of next week so I have to finish him by this weekend to give time for sealing and a final scan. It was a long day of painting with much concentration in small areas, with all this color variation my eyes were crossed by the end of the evening, :) . Lots of trial and testing with different brushes and "interpretation" of textured-color fur (every portrait is a learning experience in some area). He has some areas of color concentration but mainly a uniformed mottled look throughout so we'll see what today brings. Amazing how a night's sleep makes some minor corrections clear, :) Perhaps another posting late today of progress.

WYSIWYG: I like your phrase "puppy uglies", I'll have to remember that, it's a very accurate description of the mid phase of most portraits. With your permission, I'll use it again.

Marty Shay
09-13-2011, 04:34 PM
Taking a break--newest post, rollin' along, left eye fur and nose detailed, (detailed here means getting basic detailing done--then followed by tweaking), now moving to right upper side of the face and then working down on neck on both sides and right side of head & neck. Have the fur to put in on the left upper face at the ear as well. Lots still to do but coming along. Meeting tonight, maybe it's a needed break but I'd like to keep going---------

C&C's welcome.

Marty Shay
09-16-2011, 10:47 PM
The boy is finished, have a couple of coats of sealer on him, have sent a photo of him to the owner/commissioner and she has approved him--thank goodness. This boy's varied coat was a lot of work but I learned a lot, as usual.

C&C's welcome. This is a 16 x 20, acrylic, gallery wrapped canvas, finished to edges, blue mottled Australian Cattle Dog. The ears are much lighter than they appear here and the ear hair is much more evident in the actual portrait. As usual, camera photographs aren't the best for capturing detail but since this was a WIP, decided to post before scan.


09-16-2011, 11:49 PM
Loved seeing the progress on this one - this dog has come alive before our eyes, and the finish is magnificent! Fabulous detail work, the eyes are mesmerizing and that happy "smile" steals your heart! Thanks for sharing.

09-17-2011, 12:49 AM
I agree! He is absolutely breathtaking! Love him!

Dancing Rabbit
09-17-2011, 01:48 AM
He turned out beautifully!! You really captured the personality and life in his eyes! :thumbsup:

Marty Shay
09-18-2011, 02:45 PM
I don't know what happened to the scanned picture of the portrait I posted but it's gone so I'll post again. This shows much more accurately the portrait, the colors, and the variation/direction of the fur. Also shows the canvas color a little better as well.

Thanks for your viewing. C&C's welcome.

chammi kaiser
09-19-2011, 04:26 AM
He is absolutely delightful. Beautifully painted. Thanks so much for sharing the process. I really enjoyed watching him come to life.

Marty Shay
09-19-2011, 04:31 PM
Thank you so much, Chammi. I appreciate your comments.

Marty Shay
09-21-2011, 09:20 PM
Thank you for so many views of my blue mottled Australian Cattle Dog. He's heading out to his home in Minnesota the end next week after a 5 day stint of showing at the National Australian Cattle Dog Specialty Show. What a treat to have him on display for other cattle dog folks across the country to enjoy.

12-07-2011, 06:31 PM
wonderful done

12-07-2011, 07:49 PM
Yes they are a great little dog. Getting the fur right for your own eyes is always a problem but this is building nicely. Just walk away when frustration arrives and come back a little later.
Beautiful job!


12-08-2011, 08:13 AM
excellent piece, and really good to be able to watch how it developed. thanks.
Best wishes, Ken.