Daisy’s Portrait, the Underpainting


This is the first layer of paint as I start on Daisy’s portrait. My goal at this point, is to capture the feeling of volume in the form by defining areas of dark, light and midtone. I also try to establish the local color of each area–say for instance the golden tan of Daisy’s fur, or what will be the white area of her face.

Sometimes at this stage, the painting actually looks fairly good as this one does, but other times–it can be one whole world of ugly. Whichever it is doesn’t determine what the final outcome will be. And this is definitely NOT a stage I show clients while the painting is in progress as they might get a little worried when it’s not looking pretty yet.

I do however show clients how the painting looks when it’s halfway or three quarters done–so I can make any adjustments needed before I get through the final rendering of all the fur. The most common adjustment is a slight correction to fur color–usually caused by the way of photo changes color from real life. I rely on my clients to let me know when this is needed.