Meet Rigel, from Cincinnati. As a young adult he was saved by a Bernese Mountain Dog rescue group, and quickly found his forever home, by showing off his warm and gentle personality and charming brown eyes. His family didn’t mind that his white blaze was crooked, it was part of what made him beautiful. Rigel was a true pack animal. He expressed his gratitude and always wanted to please those he loved. With them he traveled to places near and far, and he learned many human words. Of course all mountain dog breeds love winter, and Rigel enjoyed snowy days in his backyard among the spruce trees.
This has been the most fun I’ve had creating a portrait. Rudy is quite an extraordinary little dog who has fought hard to overcome debilitating injuries. He’s just the sweetest guy – I feel so lucky to know him!
Prior to starting this portrait, we met up at a local park so I could take some photos of him and learn his story. Rudy walks on all fours now, but there was a time he couldn’t use his hind legs – he was in very rough shape at the shelter and not expected to survive. He was taken in by a wonderful family and treated by a group of veterinary surgeons, all who have made it possible for him to heal and have a very happy life. As a result of his trauma, he has lost one eye completely and is blind in the other. Rudy has a confident, curious, and charming nature that melted my heart instantly.
The natural garden in his yard is his favorite place to be, so that’s where I painted him – a summer afternoon among the clovers, black-eyed Susans, and lilies.
Sweet, gentle Indy. She is the seventh boxer I have painted!
This is another watercolor painted with a limited palette. I selected the colors based on what I would need to create her fur: burnt sienna, neutralized to different degrees with phthalo blue, or warmed with touches of cadmium yellow or quinacridone violet. The violet was a new tube (Holbein), so this was a great opportunity to see what magic this hue could make. Burnt sienna or the violet functioned as my red, except in parts of the collar and her tongue where I needed to cheat with a tiny bit of alizarin crimson.
Also, look at that green! ↓ Why bother with green paint when you can mix one that pretty?!