Commission: Oil on canvas 60x80 cm, dutch landscape on the
background, and their favorite toy.
First, I draw the composition of the dogs on canvas in charcoal. The
horizon and their position. To descide what comes where. The drawing
will be fixated to prevent the paint becoming dirty. After that I
paint a thin layer of burned sienna to give the portrait a solid
warm underpainting. That will shine through the finished portrait,
giving the end result a warm glow. When the underpainting is dry, I
start putting in the shapes of the dogs with thick brush strokes.
Thinking in grey tones: where are the darkest, middle and lightest
Never finish the portaits/subjects before adding the background. Yet
again, with thick brush strokes I paint the background. In this
image you see clearly how important that is: in phase one the dogs
seem way more detailed than in phase two. The dogs seem to be
'pulled backward' into the painting. This is the reason to add
backgrounds as soon as possible. Otherwhise you end up repainting
the subjects all over again, adding new greyscales and details.
on the contrasts. The dogs get a new layer of deep blacks and
highlights. In between layers I let the painting dry for a couple of
Final details. Now the little brushes come in! Painting the fine
hairs around the nose and strenghtening the facial features. The
background get the final layer by adding in some highlights. I
always prevent working in details on the portrait for too long,
since too much detail can make it look boring and dull. Focussing on
the most important areas (the eyes and faces) leaving the rest of
the painting less detailed. Adding the shadows make the dogs laying
down more 'solid' in the grass. Adding some fine blades of grass to
make it more realistic.
The colors on the pictures above are slightly different from the original, due to the lights in my studio.
© Marjolein Kruijt