Bearded Collies appearing from a first wash during my watercolour workshops in Norway 2010
During my watercolour workshops in Norway I had several occasions to paint dogs. I think hardly anyone at the workshops had read my series on " How to Paint Dogs in a Loose Style" in the SAA ,Society for All Artists, Paint magazine so didn't quite know what to expect. I always start without a preliminary sketch and add colour section by section until a painting is completed. Building up each piece in a combination of layers using transparent and opaque pigment.
During the first weeks sessions one artist had a photograph of their small spaniel which I painted as a personal demonstration for them to keep and learn from. We know as teaching artists that the piece of paper you are working on will often mean far more to the one watching or the owner of an individual pet and for this reason I do often part with studies in classes. But by painting this little dog I was beginning to miss my own far more than I had been already while in Norway.
I left UK feeling very worried that I may return to find I had lost Taffy during my trip abroad.His health has been so up and down these last few months and my heart was torn. I didn't want to let anyone down in Norway by not going but my faithful friend of over thirteen years was going to miss me if I disappeared for too long.
The morning I left for my flight to Norway I sat and gave Taffy the biggest hug he has probably ever had in his life.Kissing his soft nose and telling him I wouldn't be long was such a hard thing to do. Taffy is not "just" a dog. He has lived all over the world with me and been painted by many artists as a willing, comical model. He sits by my side constantly and nudges my arm if I have been painting for far too long.
The first weeks watercolour workshop in Norway covered many subjects but I started the second with a demonstration on joining subjects together simply with harmony of colour flowing to each other in still wet sections. I began with one small nose followed by golden whiskers.Beardies rarely have snow white beards from all they eat.. I decsribed to the class how I once mistakenly gave Taffy some spare spaghetti bolognese in his meal. He walked around with stained pink whiskers for ages until I cleaned his beard with whitening toothpaste to remove the reddish colour from his fur. To this day that memory always makes me smile. A red bearded collie dog caused a lot of amusement years ago!
This particular demonstration led to a painting five Bearded Collies in a row. Bearded Collie owners will recognise that each dog has their own unique personality.
I brought the demonstratioon painting home with me and completed it.This will be shown in a collection of paintings exhibited at The Frame Gallery in Odiham, Hampshire next week along with several paintings from my book. I will add details on a seperate blog entry.