Thursday, 18 February 2016

Montmorency (Dogs of Literature No 2)

Three Men In a Boat (not to mention the dog) by Jerome K Jerome
Published in 1889, this novel is a witty account of 3 men and a Fox Terrier called Montmorency, messing about in a boat for a couple of weeks on the River Thames. A good read for anyone in need of cheering up.
The painting was made using a couple of pages from my elderly and rather dog-eared copy of the novel, adhered to board and then primed with several coats of clear gesso. I painted the whole thing, when dry, with a very thin mix of raw sienna, with a few blobs that were a bit thicker to give the appearance of foxing. Because I wanted the whites of my dog to be clean, I let all this dry up before painting Montmorency.
One thing I have discovered is that clear gesso on book pages creates a surface from which it is exceedingly difficult to remove paint. You can paint over it, of course, but wiping back is almost impossible. It is not a very forgiving surface in that respect as mistakes are harder to get rid of.
Here is Jerome K Jerome on the subject of Montmorency:

“Fox-terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs are, and it will take years and years of patient effort on the part of us Christians to bring about any appreciable reformation in the rowdiness of the fox-terrier nature.” 
Jerome K Jerome Three Men in a Boat