Saturday, January 17, 2009

Two Journeys

Here are two more portraits of well loved animal companions, two more testaments of love to four legged friends of the doggie persuasion.
With each "portrait" I paint I am allowed access to the depths of spirit and loyalty, faithfulness and love between these creatures and the humans that share their journeys here and now. I feel so fortunate to be allowed in, to share in the sweetness and unadulterated purity in these animal eyes and to do my best to render them, as they were, in that moment.

At the same time, I am experimenting with a mixed technique of watercolor and acrylic, a new medium for me. I am trying to take what I find the best in both mediums and I am finding the journey exhilarating!
Watercolors are marvelous in their transparency and well, liquidity.....but one must work, always from light to dark. Acrylics are more forgiving in that respect , one can move from dark back into light but once colored is laid, they are unable to be lifted or lightened. I am finding that one can lay down watercolor washes as under-painting, then when all the basic colors are laid in, I spray the painting with workable fixative, to prevent any colors from bleeding or lifting up. I then coat the entire painting with a thin milky layer of diluted acrylic gloss gel medium.
Once dry I can move on to finishing the painting in acrylics. I am using Golden liquid acrylics and a marvelous additive from Golden, Acrylic Flow Release......something akin to Oxgall, a wetting agent for watercolor washes, a drop of Acrylic Flow Release in 10 drops of water added to the acrylic paint loosens it so that one can paint fine detail like blades of grass or fur with sharpness and precision, similar to painting detail in watercolor but with the positive attributes of acrylic and also extended the "open" time, retarding the drying time just enough.
I can use them in transparent layers to gradually build and deepen form, or I can lighten highlights with opaque acrylic.From this point on, I never use watercolors again from this point on in the painting.
The gel eliminates the absorbency of the paper and enables the development of fine detail and hard edges, and it enhances the dark values and intensifies the hues. It also allows for the maximum opacity and value range of the acrylic. Painting on its slick, smooth surface is a delightful and mesmerizing experience!



adding to my great pleasure in the experience are these comments from the human companion of these two beautiful dogs:
"These portraits. These took my breath away. Seeing these perfect renderings of my kids brings tears to my eyes, and I can't thank you enough."
In every way, painting these have brought me great happiness.

next....stay tuned, a magnificent Maine Coon cat!

1 comment:

Marilee said...

Wendy - I love your dog portraits! You really capture their personalities. Such beautiful rich color - I suppose from the acrylic overlay? An interesting technique...