Golden labrador step-by-step

So, have been asked to paint four dogs with a bright palette of colours. So far, I have done a dalmatian, which is definitely not black and white and a bulldog, which hopefully balances soft eyes against those nasty looking teeth:


Now it is time for a golden lab. I wanted to get a really soft muzzle and lose some of the highlight areas to make it more interesting.

I started with a simple drawing:


Next I got stuck in, starting with the eye, leaving highlights and then worked in with plenty of water. My colours were quin gold, alizarin, teal blue, quin sienna, quin majenta (yes, I like quin colours!!). The alizarin and teal blue mix to give a great dark, black when concentrated and purple when dilute. I got a bit carried away and forgot to take interim photos – sorry!I started in with the darks around the nose. It was starting to get exciting.


I then worked on the ear and wanted a bit of texture-contrast, so put salt on the ear and a bit of splatter on the shoulder.

I used gravity to get some nice flows from the eye area. It always looks more natural if you don’t try to control it too closely (in my opinion).


I let it all dry (time to get the kids into bed) and reviewed it in the morning. I rubbed out the pencil and lightened a couple of areas. I knew I wanted to capture the light along the edges of the shoulder and nose, so I drew in the lines and then wet the background to apply the quin gold and let water and gravity do its work. The whisker marks on the muzzle were the final marks. I thought they might be more defined, but the paper was a touch too wet, so they are soft.
A final rub out of lines and I will photograph it in natural light tomorrow. I considered putting in a few whiskers with gouache, but I like the simplicity, so I will leave it without. I’ll post the adjusted photos of the final painting when I have taken it. What do you reckon?

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