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WOOL PAINTING - Dog Portraits

I finished these fine dog portraits in September and have been aching to share them ever since!  But alas, they were Christmas gifts for the dear owners of these pups and so I had to keep them secret and keep them safe.  I am really proud of them, though, and finally I get to show them off!

The first portrait I completed was Arrow.  He is the softest long-haired Dachshund I have ever met and belongs to my friend.  He holds a sweet little place in my heart because we were flatmates when I lived in Boston.  (And when I left, my friend caught him snuggling with a poncho I had knit.  He loves me!)  I was excited to make these portrait gifts and I had gathered up all the needed supplies so I dove right in not really knowing anything.  I followed the same process that I used for the monarch butterfly.  The most difficult part was capturing the speckled effect between his eyes.  

Next I painted Rodeo.  Rodeo is my sister's chiweenie.  By the time I finished Rodeo I was starting to pick up a few tricks with the highlights, shadows and layering colors.  I admit, I did go back and touch up Arrow a bit after completing Rodeo's portrait. The most difficult part with Rodeo was that fact that he is mostly black.  It made it a little difficult to show depth and dimension in his face.  I learned to achieve this use a variety of grey and black for the highlights, shadows, and midtones.  Even though grey is used, he will still look black.  The same can be applied  to a mostly white dog as well, just the opposite end of the value chart.

Last of all, I did Sebastian's portrait.  Sebastian is my mum/sister's dog.  My sister found him as a stray right as she was preparing for a life change and so he became my mum's dog.  Sebastian and my sister are peas in pod though, the bestest of friends.  If she could, she would take him to live with her in a heartbeat.  He is a farm dog now and lives the dream life with my mum.  His portrait is for my sister.  By the time that I finished Sebastian, I was really getting the hang of it.  The most difficult part for Sebastian was the texture of his hair on his face.  Sebastian's hair is a lot more coarse than the other two pups.  Capturing that took experimentation and a lot of trial and error.  The nice thing about wool painting is that you can keep adding layers upon layers until you finally achieve the look you want.

I noticed that consistently during each painting, 90% of the time I am skeptical and doubtful that I am going to be able to pull it off.  Then during the last stretch I see all the pieces come together and it emerges better than I imagined.  This was an entire learning process on seeing shapes and colors in a new way.  It helps a lot that I follow a few wool painters on Instagram.  Seeing their progress shots and videos helped me out a few times and demonstrated what I was missing.  I am really happy with how all three portraits turned out and am thrilled that all three recipients love them. 

Happy New Year!

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