Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Portrait Early Stages

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Portrait Early Stages by Hope Lane

I haven’t been very good about posting frequently these days–I’ve been extremely busy with commissions, in fact busier than I’ve ever been. Which makes me pretty lucky I think.

Typically at this time of year, I’d be in my annual pre-Christmas rush although oddly, this time, very few of the paintings I’m doing are actually for Christmas gifts. This particular painting was a wedding gift.

This photo gives a peak into how my paintings develop. From a very, very rough underpainting that’s almost watercolor-like as in the dog on the right, to the further along dog on the left. I work in layers and each layer gets progressively more detailed and more opaque. I usually finish a pet’s eyes first because that helps me to feel like the painting has a life and focus. (and I just plain like painting the eyes).

I also use colors that are more extreme in my underpainting and over time, they get muted and made more realistic. You can see this in the bright blues I’ve used in both dogs. When the painting is done, you won’t know they are even there–but you’ll know something gives the painting a bit more liveliness i hope.