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Diprose Art Blog

The Three GSD's

Old friends of mine got in touch and asked me if I could paint three of their wonderful German Shepherds in a way similar to the famous Three kings racehorse portraits.  Well I thought I would give it my best shot so this is how it went . . .


Now having worked through all the different stages of the painting this is how it came out in the end . . .



 



 

I've not been idle . . .!

I have been working hard on my commissions and have just finished another portrait.  This is of a very handsome German Shepherd dog and was a nice one to do as my client had some lovely photos fro me to work from.  Hopefully I have done him justice!


 

Finally finished!

 


I have finally finished!  I masked off Paddy's head using Frisk film and airbrushed warm colours around him which I thought might suit his colouration.  Then the final detail - all the fine hairs and whispy bits which go over the background.  I decided his mane did not look full enough so I brought that further down, which I think looks more like him.  This is where it was helpful that I had met him because I know hoe he should look from memory as well as from the reference photo.  I'm happy now so it's off to the framers with him!

 

Almost finished . . .

Here we go again - now I do the exacting stuff - the fine detail.  This takes time and requires patience and a good eye for the detail.  You need to paint what you see, not what you think is there!  The tiny brush strokes actually make a big difference and make the painting realistic.  I think the detail is where it comes to life and, hopefully, really looks like the individual.


These four stages probably look very similar to you but there really is a gradual change as the detail is added and refined! Once I am content that he is nearly complete he can be left to dry as the next stage will be masking him off to airbrush his background and I need the surface not to be damp to do that.

 

 

Paddy gets more detail . . .

 

 

 

I've made a good start so now I am beginning to add shade to give the painting more three dimentional depth.

 I have added some very pale yellow and Payne's grey to give shade on his neck .


 The brown areas have been darken to give him some shape now with more layers of burnt sienna.


 More shade detail and texture to his forelock and mane are added gradually building up some depth.

 Gradually building up the layers of colour to give him shape and detail.  I use lots of different colours to achieve this.
 

 Now for the dark detail especially his eyes and ears and nostrils.

He needs to dry out a bit now before I can do any more so I stand back to check he still looks as if he is going to plan from a distance and so far so good!
 

Paddy continues . . . .

The first stage: - I block in the base colours starting with Paddy's brown bits which I do with a wash of burnt sienna.  Then the flesh of his nose in a pale pink.  After this I do the dark small details on his muzzle with Payne's grey.  Finally the white areas are given a white base coat.  Once I have blocked in his base coat of washes I stand back to check everything looks as if it is still in the right places!  It is amazing how even the first layers of paint start to give him form and an idea of how the painting will progress.

 



He is now ready for the second stage (once he drys!) to be continued . . . !

Paddy's portrait begins . . .

I have already put on my blog the shortlisted selection of the best head shot photos of Paddy - of which the owner's choice was the first one shown.  

Now to work on the painting. I begin the portrait, as always, with a line drawing.  It has to be right otherwise no matter how much paint you stick on it the final painting will always look off.  This time I chose a pale warm cream card as the surface medium.  

I actually started drawing it out and discarded my first attempt as there was a dent/scar on the first piece of card that I hadn't spotted when I cut it to size. If I'd not done this and carried on using the damaged card when I got to airbrushing the background the flaw would have stuck out like a sore thumb!  Frustrating but better to be safe than sorry and less time wasting in the long run.  I really want my finished piece to be the best quality I can.


 

As you can see from the drawing I have removed Paddy's plaits and crinkles!  He has a straight mane normally so I've drawn him with it swept back slightly so that his brown markings can be seen clearly.

I can now make a start painting.  The brown markings are blocked in with a light wash of burnt sienna.  I then stand back and take a look from a distance to make sure everything looks in the right place and that my proportions and composition still look ok at this stage.


 

My latest project . . .

 

I have been busy with a pair of oil paintings which have taken a long time to complete . . . and are taking just as long to dry!  I'm nearly there though so I will (hopefully) be adding them to my website soon!

In the meantime I have been asked to do a painting of a really lovely skewbald cob called Paddy.  He is gorgeous and has an incredible mane - which may prove tricky - we shall see.  Anyway I traipsed off to a really lovely venue to take his photos as the first part of the commission.  I had a really lovely afternoon and was intrigued by the driving ponies - amazing.  Paddy is a shy boy but soon got the hang of having his photo taken - especially with a little bribery in the form of a few pony nuts.  I managed to take some decent pics as he was such a good boy and the weather was just right too - which helps, trust me.  

His owner has asked for a head portrait and that I send her just a few to choose from (out of the 30 or so that were good enough!) so I whittled it down to 8 which I thought might be suitable to make a good painting.  I have put these photos on my blog so that you can see the process right from the beginning down to choosing the right photo for the portrait.  In the photos you will see that Paddy has a crinkly mane where it has been plaited - for his portrait I will paint him with straight hair . . . not a perm.  One advantage of a painting is that I can change these sort of details!  The photo chosen shows him with his plaits in - this was done so that I could see his brown markings properly.  I can't wait to get started on this one - although I still get slightly nervous, even now, because I always want to do my best and for my client to love the finished picture.

Anyway these are the top 8 photos starting with the chosen one. . .


 








 

When I have made some progress I will hopefully add the stages of this commission, as it happens, to my blog so that you can see it through to its conclusion.

 

My current commission "Capriole"

 

 

I am very excited to be working on a painting for a very good friend of mine at the moment.  It is a present for her husband's birthday so I am going to have to tell her to keep him away from my blog for a bit!  It is a painting of his lovely boat "Capriole" and now it is nearly finished I can't wait to let them see it.  I have kept a photo record of my progress so far so this is how it is going: - 

First I started with the drawing - all important to get proprtions and the balance of the painting right before you start adding any paint.

Diprose Art boat yacht portrait acrylics Caprice

The second stage involved carefully masking the boat off with Frisk and airbrushing the basic background.  I just used a peice of straight card to make a mask to spray the horizon.  To me this boat has to be in a bright sunny setting with beautiful blue ocean.

Diprose Art boat yacht portrait acrylics Caprice

Stage 3 - now I get down to it with lots of washes to get the waves in - I want to make sure I am happy with the background before I start on the detail of the boat herself.  I love painting water - there are so many unexpected colours reflecting in it but, somehow, when you put the wash on it looks right even if it is pink or green!  Strange but true.

Diprose Art boat yacht portrait acrylics Caprice

Stage 4 is all the detail on the boat.  I have to get this right as it is what will make the boat unique.  I actually really enjoy the challenge of painting boats as they have elegant lines and are all very different - you could have two of the same desing but they would still be far from identical.  Their owners always add their own touches to their vessels so I try to ensure I have noticed all the little things which makes their boat special and identifiably theirs.  This particular boat is all about grace and speed so needs to be on the move with lots of action in the water trailing her.

Diprose Art boat yacht portrait acrylics Caprice

Provided my pal likes her painting I am nearly there.  I will leave the painting for a couple of days and look at it to make sure I am happy with it and tweak it if I think I want to change any details.  The boat now has a blue hood - a Binini - which we are thinking of adding.  I like the blanace of the painting at the moment but if her owners decide they would like the hood added this should be fine!  The beauty of a portrait is that I can change things (to a certain extent) should I need to.  

This is handy because the last yacht I did I originally painted it with a blue spineka as I had been told it was this colour.  However, when the recipient opened his present it seemed that the sail was, in fact, white with a blue edge.  Ok.  No prob.  Back to the drawing board!  Not too hard to alter and funny enought the boat's owner now thinks that if he ever decideds to change the sail he might get a blue one as he thought it looked rather good!!!  The painting now looks right and that is the real object of the exercise.

I am also going to put the yacht's name on the mount so once I am happy with it I shall get one made up and give her her title.  Should look nice I think.  Anyway enough waffle - I better go and get on with some more work!

Bye for now M x

 

What's new . . .

I am, as usual, trying to do more than one thing at a time!  I have been working on commissions and trying to decorate my little studio too.  The studio is now sort of half done - it will be lovely and tranquil - I hope - but I have given up trying to beautify it in favour of working on my commissions.  I will be honest - I'd much rather be painting dogs than walls . . . !

I have just finished two works - one of a very elderly Jack Russell Terrier called Bea.  She is 15 I think and a real sweetie.  She is slightly timid, has lost quite a few teeth and is very fond of her coat so I have painted her in her clothes as it were.  Her owner is an elderly gentleman and the painting is a surprise for his birthday from his wife.  I am really glad that Bea is shown as she is now - she has real character and is a grand little old lady.  I could have tried to recapture some of her youth if I was asked but I think it is lovely that she is loved and appreciated just as she is.

Diprose Art pet portrait painting

The second commission I have be doing is of two German Shepherd puppies, so age wise the other end of the spectrum fro Bea.  They were adorable - soft fluffy and cheeky looking.  Sadly their owner lost one of them when he was still very young.  I think this is heartbreaking for any dog lover and just so unfair.  You really expect to have your friend around to love for at least a good few years.  This is also a present so I hope it makes a lovely keepsake as he will never be forgotten.  I am really glad that my client decided to have both pups painted together as I think that playing happily with his friend is the best way to remember him.

Diprose Art oet portrait painting

Finally a bit of Easter fun - I have just done this drawing for a colouring competition for the vets that I used to work for.  I loved colouring as a small child - well I would, wouldn't I!  But, for me as a child, the picture would have to have lots of small fiddly bits - colouring in big areas is boring - with plenty of different colour opportunities so I have tried to do an Easter themed cartoon which would have pleased the child me!  I really hope the children enjoy it.

Feel free to have a go!

Best wishes Michelle

 

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