New Work: Candy

I was commissioned to paint 2 portraits of this gorgeous dog Candy. As part of the portrait consultation I met her and took some photos and she really is the sweetest little thing!

The challenge with Candy was that she is such a light colour and has lots of individual locks of hair which are an important part of her character. I had to build up the painting from a dark flat base working up in blocks of tonal paint which meant that she didnt look like Candy until the very last stage, so at the beginning I really had to trust myself that all my foundation work would pay off at the end.  This meant that the final stage was very important and I only had one real chance to get it right otherwise the painting would be over worked. When painting the hair locks it was tempting to recreate every hair individually however I found that it was more effective in terms of a painting to balance out the brushstrokes in varying thicknesses using different brushes and pressures, I felt that the brushstrokes needed to be light and expressive as well as deliberately and considerately placed to work with the base colours to create depth.

The colours I used in the base layers were complimentary tones of nudes, browns, brown/blues, and greys, expressive individual hair locks were painted in creamy tones with low-lights of blue/black, blue/brown with a contrast highlight of yellow ochre. This contrast became an important part of the colour story with a blue background to work against the yellow ochre details, this is especially so with the full body portrait. The dark brown frame works well to balance the painting to bring out the features of her face especially in the eyes and nose.

Candy: Full body, 20 x 24 inches, acrylic on board

Candy: Head and shoulders, 16 x 16 inches, acrylic on board

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