Sunday, 12 June 2011


Watercolour on Paper
24cm x 34cm (9.5" x 13.5")
Jack (aka Salty the Sea Dog) is Paul and Wendy’s dog. He earned his nickname for his antics on a number of boating holidays. On his first voyage, Paul threw a twig the size of a blade of grass over the side of the boat. Jack launched himself into the water, swam to the bank and dragged half a tree out of the undergrowth. That was a few years ago. He is older and a little bit wiser. He doesn't fall in the water so much but he is still a puppy at heart.

This is my first attempt at a portrait. It was daunting to try to produce a likeness of Jack rather than a picture of a dog. I agree with John Singer Sargent’s definition of a portrait as a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth.

I based the painting on some photos of a walk through a bluebell wood. My original intention was to include some bluebells in the picture, but as it neared completion, I decided the simple background was more effective. The texture is the result of placing cling film over the paint while it is wet and leaving it to dry.

One of the biggest challenges in the painting was Jack’s dark coat. It is notoriously difficult to paint large interesting dark areas with watercolours. In this picture, I built Jack’s coat up with multiple layers of browns and blues.

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