Pet Portrait 04


Pet Portrait 04, softening the golden tip of his nose by adding light washes for a more gradual transformation really smoothes out his snout. 8 softeningHis nose is washed in a red tone then darkened around those fabulous gleaming wet nose dots along the top edge. I love the way that the light catches the texture up there. His tongue is made pinker and his lower lip darkened and all around his eyes are detailed.

dog portraitMore darkening, smoothing, and then finally adding the almost black shadows under the tongue and inside the mouth. I think Hurley came out good, he is just such a beautiful spirit! I’ll stick him in a frame and quit, no more changes.

Pet Portrait 03


Pet Portrait 03, darkening happens quickly with applying some red tones in the mouth, shadow areas, and darker strands of hair. 6 red tonesShadows are darkened gradually and carefully because there is no erasing if I apply too much. With the yellow mastic doing its job, the portrait can become deceptive when the dog has so much yellow in his fur. Things can become confusing and he looks like he really needs to see a dentist for his yellow teeth.

6 last of mastik I keep applying more of the color as I see it. Gradually this process brings him to life on the page. With the majority of the large area washes done, it is now time to remove the mastic and see the results! Then, I will know how I want to go about finishing.

Welcome to the Great Reveal!

7 remove mastikAll of the reserved white areas are clean of mastic now. Looking at all the revealed pure white areas gives us a highlight show. Though a bit clunky, and with some crooked edges, they sure do pick things up. We enter into the light realm with bright white whisker hairs, gleaming wet nose tips, eye iris’. Let’s not forget the mouth saliva shine and the chompers brilliantly shining. Now, all we have to do is put careful details in that will kick it into life.


Pet Portrait 02


Pet Portrait 02, as I put resist or mastic on the little highlights that I notice in the image. The yellow that you see on this paper is “mastic” and it is drying before I can paint.

2 mastik dog hurleyReserving the white areas makes it so much easier. Many times I have tried to avoid these areas as I paint, and it really puts a crimp in my artistic style. I like freedom while laying down washes and allowing areas of paint to bleed together.

3 shadows dog hurleyThe photography reference that I use is my guide, and it is usually sitting right next to where I am painting. I will apply light washes of where I see all the shadows on the shapes starting with the yellows on this guy. Soon, I start to see roundness start to appear for him.4 dark hair dog hurley Gradually, other colors are placed where they appear darkest. More dark colors in appropriate areas begin to really give more shape to his face quickly. It always amazes me how little color it takes to make a world of difference.


Pet Portrait 01


The best way to start a pet portrait is to go through photographs and see if you have a stellar one to work from.
color dog hurley golden retriever, poodle mixThis is a photograph that my grandson Nathanael took with my camera, while we riding in the back of the truck last summer. This shot is up close, giving details that I need for the way his hair gleams in the sun. Unfortunately, it does not show his eye details well and it cuts off the end of his tongue. So, I will need to take a look at him to verify those things.

How do you go about painting a best friend? Hurley is a delight when he gets to visit us in the country off and on. He is a dog without a “mean bone” in his tall and lean body. Being a 3/4 Golden Retriever and 1/4 Poodle mix with golden brown eyes and hair that wonderful strawberry blond color (with tons of curls). He walks around with a smile 24/7 always willing to play and run.

black & white shot dog hurley golden retriever, poodle mixMy first step is usually to take the photograph and make a black and white version of it to do my layout with. Here is that first layout sketch on the watercolor paper and now our journey begins. I am able to concentrate on drawing only the dark areas. Sketch only the darkest parts of what you see, ignore the medium tones till later on.

1 sketch dog hurleyHere is the first layout sketch on the watercolor paper.


Chess Check Mate Inking

checkmateInkChess Check Mate Inking illustration 8″ x 10″ (actual image is approx 6″x5″). This is one more of those practice illustrations done while working on inking projects. I set up a game and notice how it looks and begin drawing the configuration, different colors and find myself getting lost in the patterns and shapes.

As I go through my studio, I am giving away miscellaneous sketches and small illustrations that I no longer need. Too much stuff! This is one of the FREE items. The actual charge for this item is whatever the postage cost is to send it to you. Message me if you want it. If you are the lucky recipient just please take some time to consider other work that I do have for sale. Thanks.

Boat on the Water SR3839

water being a mirror
water being a mirror

This is entitled, “Boat on the Water SR3839” and is for sale unframed for $20. I just love the way water can become a mirror showing the underside of boats and piers and the beautiful sunset skies. This makes me think of warm ocean waters and early morning at Kaneohe Bay, rowing out to Jon Olson’s boat.

This week working with, Stan Miller for an advanced watercolor class at Spokane Art Supply. We were challenged to take a picture of a boat and apply some artistic design to improve the layout composition along with achieving some good realism in the rendering. I enjoyed the mission.

Portrait Lil’ Ben Redo 03

Portrait Lil’ Ben Redo 03, is a gradual process of adding lights and adding dark detail after detail. Back and forth. progress child portraitAdding darker tones to his hair, his blushing cheeks, and that cheekbone in the mirror. I am beginning to feel like I have finally succeeded in creating an image that is “that person in front of a reflection”. Now to finish up the rest of the details.

little Ben portrait progressThere were adjustments needed in the sweater. Changed the colors in the sweater to fit in better because it was blasting my eyes with its stark whiteness. I want the focus on Ben’s face, not his sweater.


Portrait Lil’ Ben Redo 02

Portrait Lil’ Ben Redo 02, I love when we see the reserved white areas revealed.

boy portrait
revealing the whites

Sometimes, it is surprising when I rediscover what I felt was important to save as the pristine white areas. But, I go with what seems right as I paint.

photograph and child portrait progress
a wonderful smile

More and more details are placed by using light layers of watercolor wash. I keep the photograph that inspired the portrait close so I can measure and make sure that the features are and stay correct. Just a tiny bit off will make the portrait totally wrong, and I am trying to get a really good likeness.  Always striving to improve those artist skills.

smiling baby boy portrait
skin and features

This guy has amazing red cheeks whenever he laughs and smiles and he also has wonderful dimples.