Martin has just completed the Black and White Spaniel project and has asked me to give him a few tips to help him improve the painting. Considering this is not an easy picture to do I think Martin has done a good job of it and in fact if the following adjustments are put into place the picture will be very good.
The main problem here is the fear of putting too much dark into the black markings and I can fully understand this concern. Start off by darkening the areas I have indicated with the black arrows above, then compete the other dark areas in the same way. Apply first a little 181 (payne’s grey) then 199 on top of the 181 graduating the colour at the edges following the reference picture on the right. There is no need to add any more colour the surrounding areas. You will be amazed at the difference this would make.
The eye also needs more strength add first 283 then 177, now carefully add 199 to darken still further, the surrounding area and the white highlight in the eye will stand out once this is done. These numbers are colours from the Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel Pencil Range.
At the moment there is a dark line for the mouth this needs to be changed to more of a graduating shaded line as seen on the reference picture (see red arrows), this is not easy but would make a difference.
This blog shows that a picture that is in the ‘almost there but something is missing’ class with just a few adjustments it can be elevated to the ‘very good’ class.