West Highland White in Watercolour
Head study of Daisy
A West Highland White Terrier
No preliminary sketch.
Yesterday friends called around to collect a painting. While they were here their fabulous little West Highland White called "Daisy" raced around our garden. Daisy delighted us all with her happy frolic as she hurtled around, taking in the excitement of new scents in the way that only dogs can. This little lady was so much fun to watch and her enthusiasm for life was infectious.
I couldn't resist starting a small study of Daisy in watercolour this afternoon, at the end of my serious painting session. This little study will act as a platform for a new larger painting to be created later when I have more free time. I needed to paint the study today to remember the sunshine of yesterday and Daisy's obvious joy. She was such a delightful little bundle of energy.
Unfortunately for me, no matter how much Daisy raced around our garden she never seemed to tire so gaining a great photograph of her sat or stood still to paint from was absolutely impossible. I did however manage to get one shot just before she darted in another playful direction, daring us all to chase after her.
"Catch me if you can!"
I started my painting by finding the outline of this beautiful little dog. I usually start painting animals by their eyes but the energy of this pup was more important to me. I then added the eyes and nose, and some green grass for Daisy to stand on.
Once I had a good loose background to build on, as a foundation for my painting, I then added detail to the face. Strengthening the eyes, nose and whisker area around the mouth. Having owned dogs with white faces I knew I could fall back on a touch of gold here to brighten my white subject up as a watercolour. My own dogs faces were rarely snow white around the mouth!
Adding detail to the face
Close up of face detail
I then had a decision to make. As an artist I could paint what I saw or change the tail position. Daisy was about to dart away to play so I kept the tail pointing as in my photograph . As if she was about to hurtle into action rather than change the tail into a wagging upright and more "show" dog position. But in the larger painting I may place Daisy in a show dog pose with her tail proudly held high. Next, I have another decision to make. In my photograph Daisy has her tongue out, hence the blur and space left in my study painting. I can either add the tongue or hint at the under side of a little bit of beard here. I think I prefer the latter idea.
Daisy , study so far.
This is a beautiful study to work a larger painting from. I have gleaned so much information that the larger painting will be a joy to work on. Now I just need the time to create this fabulous painting of a gorgeous little character that I have fallen in love with hook, line and sinker!
Artists Tips for the day
1) If you fall in love with something try to find time to paint even a small study of it while the memory of the moment, mood and colour are still very much alive in your mind.
2) Try painting small studies of new subjects before attempting to paint larger pieces. That way any mistakes can be corrected with the real thing.
3) Learn from small studies. Take what you like into your next painting and simply dismiss colour combinations or ideas that didn't work well.
Try to paint daily even if it is for ten minutes only! It is the best way to improve your painting skills.