A Bernese Mountain Dog, painted in the forest, using a very limited selection of colours. It was important to get the values right on this one and also to work quickly and with the minimum of fuss, in order to avoid my black and white and ochre pooling into mud.
I used a No 6 and No 4 ivory flat (apart from the eye) and did my level best to put a bit of paint down of the right colour and right value in the right place and to then leave it alone.
I used to have a postcard pinned up on the wall beside me saying "are your darks dark enough?". I took it down and replaced it with a handwritten note: "Darken all the darks!!".
The darks are never dark enough. Perhaps one day I will get there.
This was an experiment on placing a portrait in a more complicated setting. I felt I needed to push back at that boundary. So this one is an exterior setting. Tomorrow I will post an interior setting. It is difficult to get the composition right, I find. Avoiding too artificial a composition is the difficulty I have.
There are lots of inspirational examples from art history. Here is one by John Emms (1844-1912, British). He has used a not-too-specific setting - it is obviously a barn or stable, but it isn't over-elaborate - and he has very cleverly used props which are the right size relative to the animals. I will try and learn from this.