November 25, 2014

White Poodle, day 2

Circumstances have kept me away for a few weeks, but today I returned to the NGA for Day 2 of the White Poodle painting.
I concentrated on the trees in the background - darkening them and adjusting the color. I worked for about two hours, then went to lunch.
After lunch (which was a long one, because I was catching up with my copyist friend Helen!) I worked on the dog... putting in the underpainting of the fur. I'm trying to get it as close to the value and color of the painting as I can. The tiny squiggles of light fur stand out because of the darkness of the negative space around them. I'm building this painting up with thin coats of glazes, which is not how I normally paint. I think when I put the squiggly fur in, I'll have to paint around them with the darker colors at the same time, but at least I'll have a base layer to start from. I only worked about 1/2 hour after lunch, but next week I will continue, and will probably paint everything over again.

November 4, 2014

New Copy - "White Poodle in a Punt" by George Stubbs

I was going to work another week on the Cézanne, but a friend requested that I copy this painting for her, and I wanted to start on it right away. I'm planning on finishing the Cézanne after this one is finished.

George Stubbs was an English painter who was expert at painting animals, especially horses. He lived from 1724-1806. This painting of a large white poodle standing in a small boat was painted in 1780. Here is the painting:

"White Poodle in a Punt" by George Stubbs

It's hard to tell from this photo, but the dog's fur is painted with about a million squiggles of thick paint. You can see a better detail of the painting by clicking here. (Use the zoom tool to blow the picture up and see really close detail!)

Although I normally bring in a blank white canvas and start from scratch, measuring and drawing by eye, this time I gridded out my canvas and did the drawing at home from the computer image of the painting on the National Gallery's web site. I just wanted to save time, and make sure it was very accurate.

I should have taken a photo of the drawing stage, which I sketched over with acrylic paint, but I just started painting, and didn't remember to photograph it until I broke for lunch.

The original painting is 50"x40". This was a very convenient size for finding a corresponding smaller size, since 50x40 is the same proportion as 5x4, or 10x8. My copy is 40"x32", which is as large as I could go without special permission.

My goal for today was to cover the whole white canvas with an underpainting. I tried to discern what color Stubbs painted underneath everything else. I basically scrubbed in a thin layer of the basic colors. Here is how it looked at the end of the day:

I didn't work on the dog's face yet, and the colors on the dog aren't quite right. But I was getting tired and ran out of time. No copying next week (Veteran's Day) and I won't be going the week after. See you back here in three weeks.

(click the images for a larger view)