Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fairytale Pugs by Firelight

I have just completed a commissioned painting for my friends Phil and Sue Lauer.  They have three pugs and a wonderful website at Pupstar Sonoma, featuring their adventures with their friends and their pugs.  Both Phil and Sue are terrific photographers and are also serious mushroom hunters in the northern California woods, as well as collectors of carnivorous plants like sundews and venus flytraps.  We decided on a fairytale scene for the painting, in a dark forest by firelight, with lots of mushrooms and a carnivorous plant or two! Their three pugs dance gleefully around the fire, surrounded by a fairy ring of mushrooms of many varieties, with an owl and a frog as the amazed audience.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment