At the Fence, Day Two ~~ Painting a Dog a Day by Kimberly Kelly Santini

This is a big 'un, at 16" x 20" with a 2" cradle (meaning the panel is 2" deep, and I've painted or extended the composition around all four sides), and not the sort of sized painting I would normally tackle in one day. I actually had to purchase larger paint brushes so that I could properly lay down the lower most layers (I work from big, sloppy marks upwards to tinier, tighter ones).

So today I focused mainly on getting my values correct (the measurement of light vs dark spaces). The key part of this composition is that pocket of sunlight on the horses' spine and withers - and if I can't get that right, I might as well pack it in.

I kid you not when I say that this painting dallied in "the uglies" for quite some time.

It took me many hours to get to this point (and I already had a day's worth of work invested, too), but I am finally happy with the density of my darks and the saturation of the lights. And now I can focus on the form of muscles and finessing the edges of the horses' shape. And moving into working with those smaller brushes that I normally paint with.

But I did have to first turn the painting upside down in order to "see" it properly. This is a great trick that fools my eye into seeing just the plains of color instead of the forms themselves. Removed from the object, the horse's neck and shoulder now become something completely different, and I can measure (via squinting down) whether I have properly painted them.

Back to the easel in the morn!

Meanwhile, thanks, as always, for supporting my artwork!

PS We're in the homestretch here with respect to this month's 10% newly booked commissions. The project has to be booked during this January, but can happen any time during 2011. Shoot me an email if you are interested! I booked 9 new portraits last week - let's see if we can't match that this one!!


Earlier today I had this wonderful insightful essay written about the value of tenacity, and then my browser crashed and I lost it all.

I was trying to express that regardless of the skill one wishes to improve, it is all done with a little bit of elbow grease and some discipline.

Want a promotion? than work your tail off. Perfect that jump shot with many afternoon's spent in the gym. And to learn that new piece of music, one's gotta spend quality time with their instrument.

But there seems to be the perception that artists are exempt from this. That artists are born with their talent, and the artwork flows effortlessly.

I wish!

As a child I might have had a propensity for drawing. Regardless, I do know art was the only thing I was madly passionate about.

But what I create today is the result of years of pushing a pencil, or working every day to get a smidgeon better. It has been finetuned by careful study and sacrifice.

And what I paint tomorrow is leagues beyond what I was making 10 years ago. And, if I'm lucky, I'll be able to say the same thing in another 10 years.

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