One of the things I love about doing my pet portraits is including all of the crucial details that are important to the owners - setting the animals in real or symbolic landscapes, with special objects or toys, and concentrating on the personality of that particular pet - in this case three pugs in one picture!
Below find photos of the progress of the painting over the course of a couple of weeks, from the full-sized final sketch to the finished 12" x 17" completed work in gouache, titled Firelight Pug Dance: Blue, Roxy and Bono.
Pencil sketch, final size.
The sketch has been transferred to heavy rag watercolor paper,
And the some of the outer details have been roughed in.
More detail and color - only the pugs
(the most challenging part of the painting, so I left them until last)
are still in sketch form.
The fire now "glows" more effectively,
and the mushrooms and carnivorous plants are taking shape.
Blue, Roxy and Bono start their dance!
The final painting on the easel, masking tape removed.
I've darkened the owl's wings and toned down the white smoke
with a pale purple wash to make the core of the fire the brightest
thing in the picture, and I've added shadows under the dancing pugs.
Firelight Pug Dance: Blue, Roxy and Bono