Mya, A Lesson Painting, Part I ~~ Kimberly Kelly Santini

I started a new commission, a 12" x 14" portrait of a gorgeous Husky (Malamute? I don't know the difference - someone educate me please!). Since the painting was too big for me to complete in one day, I decided to give you yet another step-by-step.

Don't you love this underpainting? It's Light Turquoise (Pthalo) and while I don't use it that often, when I do it just makes me smile. It will add the perfect accent to all the purples and blues in Mya's coat, and play a nice compliment to the warmer buff tones in her shoulders.

You can see my sketch, done loosely in a paler version of the underpainting - I just identified where Mya's face was going to sit, and roughed out the shape of her skull before reaching for more color.

Here I've started to sculpt her face - with a Husky, because their skin and fur thickly blanket their head, it is key that I get the planes identified properly at this stage. Otherwise she'll look like a stuffed animal.

And because I like to talk to my muses while they are in the studio, I went for her eyes and nose next. Getting an area of the canvas done correctly in the earlier stages allows for better decision making - and the eyes identify my darkest darks and my lightest lights, so I can base all my other paint mixtures upon their relationship to Mya's eyes.

I can actually hear her breathing now. 

While I adored the underpainting, it was distracting, so I mixed a harmonious gray (using the light turquoise and cadmium red - opposites on the color wheel) and glazed various tints of it overtop the background for a lovely effect. 

Isn't she gorgeous?

And that's where I'll leave off. Thanks so much for your attention - I love sharing my paintings with you!!


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