Thursday, 22 January 2015

Daxie in black & white

oil painting of a dachshund in black and white, after Landseer, a pet portrait by Karen, Devon
The day before yesterday, you may recall, I showed you the lovely b&w study Landseer did for Queen Victoria of her dachshund Waldman. Well, I am not going to upload it again because I don't want you making any direct comparisons... 

My attempt is a great deal smaller at 6" x 6" and it took a really long time to paint.
When you are trying to recreate form purely by distinguishing values - no colour to help you separate the leg from the chest or the back from the background or the side of the ear from the side of the face - the level of concentration required is enormous. 
I found I had to stop and think after almost every mark. I began with the eyes, as I almost always do, thus could put down the darkest dark (tube black for the pupils) and the lightest light (tube white for the highlights) and I knew everything else on this dog fell between those two. His eyes were the only place where pure black and pure white occurred. 

In reality, using colour should not make it easier: it makes it harder because you have this additional dimension, it is like the difference between playing a matching card game on a table top and playing with a Rubik's cube. There is so much more that can go awry in 3 dimensions. Yet, the allure of colour lulls us into a false sense of security. Well, it does me.

I am considering doing a few more of these studies, or maybe one every so often, to try and ensure I am learning the lessons. 

That's all for this week. Thanks for reading my blog and for looking at my paintings. Have a great weekend.