Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Simple Exercise in Oil Color: Oil Painting the Profile of a Dog’s Head

This simple oil painting exercise in how to paint a dog’s head has been taken from my art instruction book, 10 Bite-Sized Oil Painting Projects: Book 3, (also included within my bundle art book: 30 Bite-Sized Oil Painting Projects). Each describes oil painting projects for the artist simply wishing to have a go at oils without having to pore over photos hoping to find inspiration.

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Here, we can see this dog’s profile displays flat areas of white and russet, ideal for practicing how to paint sleek fur without intricate detail. Highlights and shadow exists side by side, suggesting softness. The arrows in image B represent the directions of the brushstrokes used. An abridged step by step demonstration on this dog painting begins with the drawing.

Image A shows the dog’s head can fit within basic shapes such as a triangle and rectangle, ideal for calculating the outlines. The sketch was conducted upon primed board 10 by 12in. The only other requirements were fine, medium and wide sables, blue and brown acrylic paint and oil colors: titanium white, burnt sienna, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow and burnt umber. A YouTube clip on how this demonstration was completed can be found at the bottom of this article.


Drawing and Painting a Dog's Head
1 The dog sketch was lightly conducted via a soft pencil onto the artboard and then overlaid with blue acrylic paint, to help the drawing stand out beneath the ensuing wash.

2 Once the drawing was dry, I applied a dilute wash of brown acrylic paint over the art surface by use of a wide brush.

3 Once the wash was dry, I applied a few more coats of brown acrylic paint over the background, for an even, opaque finish. This will help the highlights of the dog stand out when the oil color is applied.

4 Once the acrylic paint was dry, I began with the oil painting. Cadmium yellow, burnt sienna and mostly white was drawn via a fine sable from the snout towards the ear. These highlights gather around the temple, cheek and the piping around the ear.

5 A dose of burnt sienna was added to the brush and drawn from the edge of the eye and snout towards the ear. Residual paint was then blended into the edges of highlight, retaining brush marks.

6 Highlights were blended into deeper rustic tones to suggest fur. A little burnt umber was then added to reinforce shadows around the underside of the ear and around the eye.


7 More burnt umber was applied to the outlines of the ear, back of the head and around the eye. This adds definition.

8 With a clean, medium sable, titanium white was dragged into the direction of the furs’ growth. The white was then ‘scumbled’ around the snout and sections of the dog’s neck.

9 Ultramarine and a little burnt sienna were added to achieve a slate blue. This shadow color was worked over the underside of the neck. Lighter strokes enabled the blending of shadow colors into pales.

10 Ultramarine, white and a little burnt umber were tracked around the rim of the eye to add definition. Burnt umber and ultramarine was then tracked around the dark outer edges. The iris comprised pure burnt sienna, darkened with ultramarine for the pupil. A dab of blue-white just above the pupil and around the snout suggests moisture.

11 A blend of burnt umber, ultramarine and white illustrated the nose and mouth. Notice the nose is almost triangular in form and the mouth exhibits a soft ridge. Strands of pale fur traverse this ridge, moustache-like. A little white was dragged over in places.

The finished painting
12 Finally, I sketched patches of ultramarine and white onto areas of background. The remainder of the background was darkened with burnt umber. Blue and dark brown were blended around the edges for a mottled effect.

As can be seen, painting a dog’s profile can be made simple. Patches of Russet upon white exhibit bold shapes where soft textures reside. Care is needed around the dog’s features, where a little detail can be found.

My YouTube Clip showing how this demonstration was completed.

Further step by step projects can be found within my art book, which includes a flamingo, a daffodil head, a sunset, topiary gardens and more.

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