Almost done! As you can see a lot of progress has been made since my last post. I am on the final dog and with any luck should have it all complete by the end of the week. I have been concentrating primarily on each dog individually first. After I have them all in I will go over the whole drawing and make adjustments to values so that each dogs image will stand on it's own and not completely blend in to the next one. As I said before, there are actually three different colors of Chesapeakes represented here and I want to try and capture that. I will also be deciding whether to include a hint of a background with these four. The photos were taken outside near a pond and Chessies are definitely water dogs. These dogs, however, are not used for hunting so that type of background will not work. These dogs are primarily show dogs and much loved companions. My client has left the design up to me so I will have to give that some thought. Sometimes the best design is the simplest.
This image shows a close up of one of the dogs. I wanted to show some of the pencil strokes and shading. Unfortunately, it doesn't show the finer detail as well as I'd like it to, but it does give some indication. Chessies have a very wavy coat pattern and it can go in several different directions at once. There are curls and waves and ridges that are created as the hair goes different ways. On some areas it looks like someone has brushed the hair in the wrong direction, against the grain so to speak. This makes it very challenging to draw and sometimes it requires me to turn my work all around in order to properly draw the contours. I often work on a piece upside down because on difficult patterns it allows you to draw the actual pattern instead of the way you "think" it should be.
I also wanted to show a closeup of the eyes. No matter what else you do this part has to be right on. This is the heart, soul and personality of "this" dog and if I can't capture that it's of no value to my client. The eyes are by far my favorite part and I spend a lot of time around this area working to get it right. I could be quite happy zooming in and cropping paintings this tight all the time. I can look in this dogs face and see love and intensity and wisdom and maybe just a bit of longing to go do something fun!
Anyway, it's time to get back to work. Sometimes it's hard to finish a piece especially one that you really enjoyed doing and if it turned out really well it's hard to let it go. I have really enjoyed this one. I hope my client will be as pleased with it as I am.