Tag Archives: New Hampshire Art Association

Call for reference photos! 2017 Labrador Retriever watercolor calendar

promoIt is only the beginning of 2016 but I am looking for 2017 Labrador Retriever models.
It takes many months of planning and painting in between other projects so I like to get a head start on next year’s Labrador Retriever Calendar.
Click the link below for the details for submitting images for consideration. I will select 13 images to paint from that will be presented as the 2017 calendar.
*Please only submit images you have taken yourself.
2017 contest rules calendar

Lily a portrait commission

“Lily” a newly completed commission portrait. “8”x10″ watercolor on paper.

Lily’s portrait was commissioned as a gift to her owner.
Often, I get questions regarding how I go about completing a commission piece and also get inquiries about my technique on how I get bold, rich colors and depth using watercolors. I decided to photograph the stages of Lily’s portrait to get an idea of my process. Every commission piece is different and some more challenging than others depending on the quality of the reference images and or the combining of images to create one composition.
Here are 2 of the 4 or so images the client sent over for me to work from.
We liked the expression and the position of her tail in the first photo but the client wanted the portrait to include Lily standing on the rocks with a bit of the lake in the composition. I really liked the shadow cast by Lily in the second photo and wanted to include it for an interesting element. We agreed we wanted Lily to take up most of the composition in an 8″x10″ format. With that all decided upon, I went to work laying out a sketch.

Slide 1: Composition is worked out before I start with a transferred final sketch onto watercolor paper.
Slide 2: I then loosely start painting in washes of color/value without worrying about details. I “save” some whites (using the white of the page) but will use casein white in thin transparent washes in other areas as the painting progresses.
Slide 3:  An hour or 2 is spent focusing on the texture and color and light of the rocks and water. I paint very light washes and use a spray bottle, sponges and a toothbrush to get the texture I want.
Slide 4: My attention is directed at working on Lily’s shaggy coat. I use casein mixed in with water and color to create depth and texture to her coat. I use a hairdryer to speed up drying times between transparent washes. Once I feel I am near completion, I spend a bit more time adding details and pumping up color along edges until I am satisfied.
Once complete, the watercolor is scanned or photographed and the digital image is tweaked to accurately as possible represent the original. A “proof” is then sent for final approval or suggestions for minor changes.
My painting tools are not limited to brushes. I use toothbrushes, twigs, leaves, fabric, sponges and a spray bottle for getting the texture I want. I even use on occasion potatoes to make organic shapes to stamp watercolor paint on to the paper.
If you have a question about commissioning a portrait or about technique, please feel free to contact me.