Halfway Through a
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Portrait

I’m about halfway through Morgan’s portrait. Nearly all of my paintings go through a dark and harsh stage on their way to completion. I paint dark to light–so they get lighter and lighter as I lay on more paint. But I also tend to paint shape and structure first–then soften it as I go. I feel you can’t paint a realistic animal–or in fact any subject, without first understanding the underlying shapes. This means that under all that pretty fur, there needs to be a visual understanding of muscles and bones. I’m always working to improve my knowledge of this.

From this stage on, my job is to make Morgan’s white fur feel white, and black fur feel black. It’s all a matter of fine tuning and balancing things.