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Friday, September 26, 2014

Dog Portraits: Freckles 1 & 2

Behind every painting commission is a personal story. When I accept the commission I view it as an invitation to enter that story. I feel honored every time. The portraits I completed this week feature the same dog, Freckles, in two stages of life; as a shaggy, sweet puppy and now in present day, as an older, wiser, faithful companion.
Freckles The Puppy
10 x 8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
Stage 1: The drawing. With a thin wash of burnt umber paint and mineral spirits, I draw the image of Freckles with a number 2, filbert bristol brush, freehand, using several photos for my reference. My goal at this stage is accuracy. If I capture his likeness now the rest of my job is so much easier.
Stage 2: Blocking in the underpainting. This is such a fun stage. With a large brush I lay down the paint in blocks of color knowing that some of it will  show through the top, thicker layer.
Stage 3: Completing the painting. This final layer is done with brush strokes placed with intentional variety and color. The background represents where Freckles was photographed, in a pale green, grassy field.
Freckles
10 x 8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
Stage 1: The drawing.
Stage 2: Blocking in the underpainting.

Stage 3: Completing the painting. Freckles, as an adult, lost some of his pronounced markings. I also had to take in to account the changes in his hair and the way it fell. One trait that did not change was his alert, vibrant energy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Portrait of a Little Girl:"Mariposa" Completed

I enjoy creating paintings for different reasons. To tell a story and entertain is always my first goal. This composition, with subject matter so unique in comparison to my traditional portraits, was a wandering of sorts off the beaten path.
Mariposa
9 x 12", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson (c)2014
Stage 3: Painting the hand and arm. 
Stage 4: Painting the  hair, blue t-shirt and background... Working on all three during the same painting session made painting their soft edges much easier.
Stage 5: Completing the painting...the butterfly and foreground. I painted the textured foreground first, saving the butterfly as my reward for getting everything else done. I was excited about this beautiful butterfly (mariposa) from the very beginning. It added contrast, pretty lines and design. And now, with this painting completed, I will let it rest before I make any adjustments. Its always good to let a piece of work sit for a while if you can. I will see it with fresh eyes in a week or so.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Portrait Of A Little Girl: Mariposa

In a quiet moment I see large blue eyes intently studying a butterfly. My granddaughter, Sofia, is at rest and watchful. Lost in a period of time, captured by wonder and design. For me is was delightful. Soothing. Inspiring. A painting waiting to happen.
Stage 1: The composition. Drawing freehand with a paint brush I try to portray this image with as much accuracy as possible. Working from a photograph means I have to adjust the proportions that the lens over compensates for. The hand had to be drawn much smaller. It was fortunate that I was able to have Sofia pose for me so that I could sketch her from life and make accurate changes.
Stage 2: Painting the face. Working wet paint onto wet paint my goal was to work efficiently, making every stroke count. Already though, I see changes I want to make. 

I think I'll work on her hair next and then her arm and hand.