Inside the Studio with Zann & a Golden Retriever Painting
This 8″ x 10″ Golden Retriever Painting in oil came together over several hours. In this video I’ll show you the process I use to get the lighting, textures, and colours down when I paint oil portraits of dogs and other pets.
More of my work can be seen online here: Pet Portrait Portfolio.
Starting with a Sketch & the Background for this Golden Retriever Painting
First, let’s take a look at the sketch and background.
When I start painting, I’m pretty loose. I don’t use projectors or under-prints to make a paint-by-numbers style outline for myself, because I like the effects I get from painting freehand! In the beginning, I’m just trying to get an idea of where the dog will sit on canvas.
Next, I fill in the portrait background next so that the subject “pops forward” more. This let’s me blend the tips of the fur outward.
I like to use a simple gradient for my pet portrait backgrounds. They keep the focus on the subject, but still have depth.
Check out these more colourful pet portrait backgrounds to see how much you can do with a simple gradient or vignette!
Below, you can see what the piece looks like after this stage.
Getting the Rest of the Golden Retriever onto the Canvas
This part of the painting process is easier to show in video.
But basically I’m starting with a large brush, and filling in the major areas. At this point, I’m not worrying much about details.
Once these major strokes are in, the painting is almost finished. From far away, this golden retriever is already looking a lot like himself in his painting!
Finishing the Painting with Highlights & Details
Going in and adding the details really makes the finished retriever portrait sparkle.
By this time, I’m using a smaller brush. The details are achieved by alternating between deepening shadows and adding bright highlights. These bring out shine and reflection, as you can see below.
Do you have a pet portrait idea? I’d love to hear about it.
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Thanks for reading,