Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Dog on the Duvet 2 (and work in progress shots)

This is an American bulldog. He is the 80th dog painting I have posted on this blog, not counting commissioned pet portraits!! He is also notable because I used a different method to paint him. Previously, I would roughly block in the main shapes using very thin paint, marking the darks and lights and the position of key features - eyes and nose, usually, in a simple painting like this one. Then I would put the background in. Next day, I would paint the dog himself. Not always - but this was my normal method.
Then I bought Alla Prima - Everything I know about Painting by Richard Schmid, my all time hero and favourite contemporary artist (apart from Hockney, who remains Numero Uno). 
Schmid describes an alternative method, which is the "get it right first time" method.
In a nutshell, you pick your starting point - this would normally be the painting's focal point - and after a great deal of careful thought, put down a brushstroke. 
It has to be right first time, because this method is supposed to do away with corrections and the pain of "going wrong". Assuming your first stroke is correct, you then put down a second one, which must also be correct. And so on. 
It sounds weird but it is quite wonderful because it means the painting gets easier to do as you move forward. Also, you don't have that painful period to endure where it looks like rubbish and you're not sure if it is going to come out alright or not.
Here is this doggie after the first few brushstrokes:
I think Richard Schmid would do his paintings without any guidelines sketched in but I am not that good!! And here we are again after the second painting session:

Then I forgot to take any more photos. But this was such fun. Also, as Richard Schmid explains, you know very early on - all other things being equal - if you have got a stinker on your hands so it saves time and reduces angst. Can't wait to do another one.

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