Gabriele has sent me this painting she is doing of her friend’s Great Dane and getting frustrated because she can’t seem to get the muzzle dark enough she also feels that the pencil strokes appear artificial. This is an excellent chance for me to show you all how Gabriele should proceed with this picture.
Let me deal with the colour and the pencil strokes at the same time. The pencil numbers I refer to art from the Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel Pencil range, click here for a colour chart. A base colour of I would suggest 270 should be the first colour applied to the whole of the muzzle area, then add into that a little 273 and 182 this can then be lightly blended with a colour shaper. This is the base that will now accept the 273, 182 and 175 or 181 or both. It is even possible to add a touch of black into this mix. This should be applied in positive strokes in the direction of the hair, notice Gabriele has not strictly followed the hair direction (see boxes). If this does not produce a dark enough tone then continue until it does. At the same time this action must be positive and without leaving tell tale ‘artificial strokes’.
I am sure you are now thinking “what does he mean by that?”. Well it simply means that you have to think impressionistically that is to create the effect rather than the actual. I am sure this statement would have confused you all but this is what you will need to learn to do if you want to improve your work. We will be talking about this in a podcast soon where I can give a better explanation of what I mean.
The other point I would like to bring up is an ‘old record’ of mine but I certainly applies here. Doing paintings for other people is like putting your head on the chopping block. Be prepared for frustration, sleepless nights, worry etc. I baulk at doing that even now with all my experience because I can remember just what I went through in those early days. You are supposed to be doing this fantastic leisure pursuit for pleasure so why put yourself through this kind of agony.
How do you feel about commissions? Let us know in the comments below.