Seven Small Sketches: June 5 – June 15 2020

At the start of this month, I decided to do another Seven Small Sketches challenge, since I had so much fun with the last one. Rather than using a variety of mediums, this time I chose to use acrylics for all seven paintings, but to aim for the same style across the set. I chose impressionism because it’s a style I’ve always wanted to have a go at but always struggled to manage (the perfectionist part of my brain keeps telling me that everything has to be realistic and accurate). I didn’t quite get them all finished within a week because I was busy with marking assignments, and the final painting was larger and more complex so it took me about three days rather than one, but I’m still glad I ended up with another seven paintings completed. Here’s a ‘collage’ I put together of my paintings.

All of these aside from the dog portrait are on ATCs. I think for the most part, I succeeded in achieving an impressionist style, though I’m not 100% happy with all the paintings. I couldn’t find a rose picture that I liked so I painted one from imagination, and didn’t really get it right, and the landscape with the mountains in the background was one I painted late at night after work and rushed, so the contours of the desert area don’t look natural. Even though I think the peacock came out quite well, it’s probably slightly more realistic than I intended it to be.

Here’s a better photo of my portrait of Rosco, as I’m especially proud of it. I’ve wanted to paint a portrait of my furbaby for a while now, but aside from the painting I did of my Italian friend’s German Shepherd, Vedina, this is the only dog portrait I’ve done, so I kept putting it off out of fear that I wasn’t good enough and would mess it up.

I knew from the start that I would need to use a photo reference, so I set out to take one, but as is often the way with animals, Rosco would always run away or roll over or make a stupid face any time I got out the camera, so I resorted to going through my folder of dog photos to see if I could find a good one. I ended up having to use two; one for the pose, which had the expression I wanted but poor lighting, and another one with better lighting but where he wasn’t looking straight at the camera. I also thought it would be fun to make it my own little tribute to Van Gogh’s art by giving Rosco a Starry Night background. It was a challenge to paint, especially the nose/muzzle area, but I think he came out quite well and I managed to capture some of his personality and emotion (on a related note, the main photo I used was taken of Rosco when he was sitting beside my desk and staring at me as I ate a sandwich without giving him any).

I’m busy with a few jobs over the next couple of weeks, so it’ll be a while before I have the time to make art again, let alone the energy. I’m hoping to set myself another themed challenge; perhaps I’ll do a set of animal portraits, or a series of still life paintings.

Day 1: Cherry Blossoms, based on a photo by Carol Kendall in the Photos for Artists Facebook Group.
Day 2: Storm Sailor, based on a photo by Kymberlee Edwards McKay in the Photos for Artists Facebook Group.
Day 3: Peacock, based on a photo by Neringa Maxwell in the Photos for Artists Facebook group.
Day 4: Along the Tracks, based on a photo by Joan McDaniel in the Photos for Artists Facebook group.
Day 5: Rose, from imagination.
Day 6: Reflections on a Lily Pond, based on various photos by Lynn Nugent, Kay Davis and Gail Veasey in the Photos for Artists Facebook group.
Day 7: Starry Mouse, based on a few photos I took of Rosco and in the style of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

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