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!


3 Responses to “Zoe”

  1. JL Moores Says:

    This is a precious portrait. You did a wonderful job of capturing her delicateness (for lack of better words…My Idea Editor is not near at the moment :)Her eyes do stand out as well, but it is obvious that they aren’t as big as normal from her lay in the bright sun.

  2. Leslie Says:

    Perfect!!! I couldn’t be happier; this looks EXACTLY like her. I can’t wait to frame it and find a special spot to hang it 🙂

  3. Marjorie Kirk Says:

    This picture is done so well to capture exactly what Zoe looks like in person. As you can tell, she certainly doesn’t mind posing but is much more com-fortable if she is cuddled up in her blanket. This picture is very well done!

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