Sweet Max, the Teddy Bear

January 30, 2010

Max is a very sweet guy … approximately 6-7 years old, Max’s exact breed is unknown.  He is believed to have perhaps some chow and shepard in him, but maybe something else, too.  Regardless of Max’s genetic makeup, one thing is certain, he reminds me of a sweet Teddy Bear, just like my Mocha does.  His personality is just as loveable, too.  Max is easy-going, super obedient, people-pleasing, and intelligent.

Max’s coat is black with an undercoat of golden brown.  In the photo I worked from, I could also see dark browns and reddish browns in there, too.  This fuzzy, multi-dimensional coat was a challenge to re-create with watercolor, but I am happy with the end result.  It is difficult to see in the scan of the watercolor, but after Max’s portrait was dry I went in and added some very fine brush stokes that really give his body the hairiness and fuzziness.  Max’s eyes were also challenging because they are so sweet, soulful, and expressive.  I am happy with the end result on the eyes, as well.

The photo of Max that I worked from showed Max sitting outside in the snow.  There was nothing particularly special about the background, however, so instead of reproducing it exactly, I just added in a little snow-esque background to the watercolor portrait.

This is Max (this is not the photo I worked from, but it is another adorable photo)


pigeon toe CERAMICS

January 29, 2010

pigeon toe  CERAMICS Website

I forget how I found this company and their website, but I LOVE their ceramics.  In particular, my favorite are the mini creamers!

pigeon toe is also on etsy.com (another FABULOUS site), where my favorites are the dent finger mug and stoneware mini creamer.

Hmmm, definitely won’t be getting on of these anytime soon to take Mocha out on runs with me … interesting but no.

You go girl! ..... Ha! Ridiculous!


January 27, 2010

Well, here is Zoe’s portrait!


The background in the photo I worked from was especially neat, I thought, so I definitely wanted to keep it as part of the watercolor portrait.  Zoe was laying in the sand in the photo, and so the color of the sand was a golden-tan.  I decided to change it to grey so that it would match Zoe and the portrait’s overall color palette.

In order to get the sky a deep blue, I used my technique of layering color (paint with relatively dry brush, let dry, paint again, let dry, etc.).  This gave the sky that rich color I wanted.  I also did this with the grey sand.  All the layering made for a saturated background that almost looks like it was screen-printed.

In order to get the background right up next to Zoe’s body (and not have the paint bleed onto her body), I used masking fluid to mask off all of Zoe’s body.  Masking fluid is a semi clear, viscous fluid that is clear and fairly thick, when applied with Q-Tip it masks off part of the painting. It reserves the papers inherent, for example to depict a snow covered mountain, only the snow portion is masked. Then when the background colors are painted and allowed to dry the magic happens: a little scratching/rubbing (think rolling dried Elmer’s Glue or rubber cement in your fingers), reveals pristine white, dry paper!  So before I even added any detail to Zoe, when she was still a light pencil outline, I masked her body, leaving her as a white/blank outline.  I then layered the colors for the background sky and sand.  Lastly, I removed the masking fluid and was left with a stark white, dry Zoe to paint details into.

Although it looked funny and globby, I layered the masking fluid on THICK, because I didn’t want any blue sky or grey sand bleeding through.  This is what the whole process looked like:

WET PAINT! Zoe’s body masked off … working on the blue sky and grey sand … I layered the masking fluid on really thick and globby!

Close up of the globbiness where Zoe's head will eventually be seen ...I was not joking when I said I layered that masking fluid on ... look at that lumpy mess!


Now for a little more information on Zoe… she is a TINY, fragile-looking thing.  Even in comparison to other Italian Greyhounds I have seen/met, Zoe is petite.  Italian Greyhounds are miniature sight hounds, and are considered to be part of the “Toy” group.  Because of her small frame, Zoe is NOT an outdoor dog (dogs of her breed are not outdoor dogs in general) and will out-right refuse to go outside in the cold weather.  When she does go out for rides in the car, she has to be bundled up in blankets.  I snapped this picture of Zoe on my camera phone when I was having dinner at Lance and Leslie’s house; it is a perfect example, I am told, of how Zoe is most comfortable:

"Ahhhh, now I am warm, cozy, and comfortable!"

Zoe’s big, dark eyes are especially cute … and although the photo I worked from did not contain a load of detail in that area, I hope I captured her dreamy big eyes!

I am finishing up Zoe’s portrait tonight … Zoe is an Italian Greyhound.

Meet Zoe.

The photo I am working from has great composition and a really cool background (it is a simple background – not a lot of detail, but it is cool – not the photo above).  I changed the color in the background a little to make the color scheme match better overall, and I am really excited about how the portrait turned out!  I will be posting the final/finished portrait tomorrow (hopefully), but for now here is a look at Zoe’s portrait’s scrap palette.

Zoe's Portrait's Scrap Palette: Hmmmm, purples, pinks, greys, blues ...

The Scoop on Newman

January 26, 2010

Last Friday as I painted Newman and earlier when I posted his portrait, I didn’t know a whole lot about him.  That has changed as Newman’s owner, Luke, filled me in.  First of all, Newmain is a Border Collie/Heeler mix – that makes for an exotic looking little guy!  Newman loves the snow, going on walks, and Luke says Newman is a people-pleaser.  The name Newman refers to Paul Newman, because of the pup’s beautiful blue eyes.

Newman is a beautiful, unique dog and therefor was very enjoyable to paint.  One thing I am especially pleased with is the background.  Although it is very light, I think it looks really cool.  The photo I worked from had Newman laying in the snow, so that is what the background is reminiscent of.  (Conclusion: Snow makes for a cool background.)

Next up, I am working on an Italian Greyhound named Zoe … she is a sweet, timid, fragile-looking little girl.  I am working from a photo with a cool background, which I think will translate into a spectacular watercolor background.  Au revior for now!

Daisy and Newman

January 25, 2010


Daisy is a happy lab (obviously) – look at that smile!  Daisy’s friend, Stephanie, had me paint Daisy’s portrait as a birthday gift for Daisy’s owner, Laura.  Laura’s birthday is on the 31st, so we have yet to find out how much Laura loves the portrait!  Details to follow…


A photo of Newman the Puppy ... details on this little guy's personality coming soon ... I bet his personality is as unique as he looks.

Newman is a very interesting looking guy!  I am waiting on information from his owner, Luke, regarding Newman’s breed, but you should know Newman is a puppy!  He is only 5 months old!.  As you can see, however, Newman has some CRAZY sky-blue eyes.  The photo I worked from was taken of Newman laying in the snow, so the brightness also caused his pupils to dilate to tiny black dots!  When I get some more information from Luke, I will be doing another posting about Newman 🙂