I enjoyed making this pastel portrait of these two healthy and happy Labrador retrievers. They were young and wiggly! Their owners had a time keeping them quiet for the photoshoot, but they were very sweet. The portrait made the owners very happy.
Labrador Retrievers are very popular dogs in the Upper Midwest of the USA.
It took a week to finish the colored pencil portrait of Maya pictured here. It is a small piece 8″ by 10″ on Bristol paper. This is a smooth surfaced paper which works well with layering the colors.
Most of the time, I use paint or pastels to create my own pieces. Using the colored pencils is a fun exercise in the use of color.
Someone stopped by my blog and commented on the drawing of Maya. There was surprise for me when I visited this person’s blog. There was a long post about taking drawing classes. It turned out this writer wanted to draw and paint, but suffered from terrible anxiety when it came time to start a painting class. There were many kind responses to this post. People shared many perspectives.
I studied painting, drawing, photography, lithography, etching and learned countless crafts to teach in school settings. With each phase, there was what I called the first day of the lesson. All the unknowns would be revealed – the teacher, the students, the lessons. I wanted to learn.
In my first figure drawing class in college, my professor told me that I drew “like a barbarian”. As I looked at the drawing he was looking at I realized he was correct. It took two years of drawing, for four days a week, to learn to draw with expressive lines that I could control.
After studying to be an art teacher and watching students evolve in art classes, I came to believe two very important things: First that anyone who wants to can learn to make art. Second all it takes is the desire and discipline to learn with an open beginner’s mind. That means (to me) Be there to try things out and don’t be afraid to fail. Every learning in life takes practice.
When I learned how to make lithographic prints, I had one of the top lithographers in the country as a teacher. He was very strict. You cannot fudge a process like lithography, which takes many steps before you have a completed print. In the beginning of my two years of practicing this technique, I made every mistake in the book. It was a slow process of learning, that taught me the value of learning from my mistakes. The perspective I gained gave me a sense of humor about being human and not giving up.
This attitude has kept me going with my cooking experiments, at my blog Kunstkitchen and anything new that’s worth learning. I tell myself , “Just show up and see what comes to you.” That’s life.
Four Stages of the portrait process of the pencil drawing of Maya the labrador Retriever
This is a small portrait, which was great fun to make. The tones in the horse had me buying every brown to beige pastel pencil I could find, at the time. The title is “Proud Owner” whose name is Butch. In this drawing the weight of the horse and the beauty of the Belgian Breed comes across. I like to include the crowd scenes sometimes in my work to add the excitement of the event!
Horses are fascinating subjects to draw. While I work from a photograph, my aim is to go beyond the flat image and share the depth of the space and time of the portrait.
Thankfully Draft Horse breeders are still active in perfecting the “great horse” for size, temperament, and work. Otherwise these magnificent giants would be gone.
The 2017 Minnesota State Fair Draft Horse competition for six horse draft and single horse cart draft was a sight to behold. Later on I will share some highlights.
Dog portraits are fun to do. This one was started with acrylic paint to rough in the painting. This photo of the second stage is where I start to lay in the oil paint color. I am using oil paint for the finished portrait.
Working with a small format canvas has its challenges. One small stroke can change the expression. Sascha has a very serious look. She is a very sweet family dog, who likes nothing better than carrying a stick in her mouth and shaking it back and forth while walking with you on her country road. This painting, from a photo her Mom took of her, reflects her serious side and her dignified bearing as her family’s protector.
The lack of sunlight has made my progress very slow. I like natural light for painting, but I cannot delay any longer. Today I continue to bring out the details in the portrait of Sascha under artificial lights. Keep on keeping on…
Finished Portrait of Sascha- The Long Haired German Shepherd
The King Charles Spaniel is a digitally redone photo portrait, which I captured at a dog show last year. This effect give the look of a black and white block print.
The cat portraits are also digitally enhanced photos.
The British Short Hair Cat belonged to my gracious niece, Sabina, who has helped me with my online venture to share my work. His name was Toenje. A most interesting and aloof creature, who charmed me from the moment we met. He has passed over the Rainbow Bridge.
More recently, I have taken to using digital photos for my drawings and paintings.