New South Wales, Australia, Cherished, acrylic, 38½ x 29½"
The idea for this painting came about as a result of catching our neighbour’s wandering Labrador. Rose had gone out walking on her own and we knew she was a cherished member of the family and would be sadly missed so we brought her back to our house until we could contact her owner.
I had already been exploring the interaction between humans and animals in other works and wanted to create a painting that captured the shared love between a dog and its human family. After her safe return, I asked if I could organise a time to paint Rose; I now had one of my models.
My Design Strategy
I use the combination of the “Rule of Thirds” and the “Armature of the Rectangle” to help me place the items or shapes that I wish to include in the painting. The armature of the rectangle uses a series of diagonal lines to divide the rectangle into divisions, and by using these divisions and the intersection of these lines, I am given the freedom and confidence to position items within the rectangle in a pleasing design. I use these as a guide only and I try to remain flexible when positioning items to achieve a pleasing design.
My Working Process
I first draw the figure, dog and the umbrella with a 2B pencil on universally primed canvas using proportional dividers to help me measure and position the features of the face. After the drawing is completed, I seal this with a transparent primer that not only saves my drawing but also gives me a great surface to paint on.
The patches of colour are laid down one piece at a time in the order they were drawn. This is done not only as a way to control my tones, edges and create the illusion of form, but also to help me control the drying time of the acrylics.
The colour theme for Cherished is mostly “cool” reserving the “warms” to advance the figures. The background is not essential in the storytelling, so it is painted expressively trying to convey an ethereal feel.