Wildlife Art by: Laura Curtin

“How to Paint… a Dog?”

I painted this beautiful puppy for a friend. I wish I knew the breed of this little guy. I do know that he is trained to visit hospital patients and help with their mood and recovery. If this pup came to my room I know I’d be instantly better.

I did a detailed drawing of Boogie and started my painting where I usually do, with the eyes. The photo reference I had for the painting was difficult because Boogie’s eyes are so dark and seem lost in all the dark fur. I had a Keeshond Dog many years ago with beautiful brown eyes like Boogie and I used the memory of her to help me with these eyes.

pup 1Pointer Progress 1 – Wildlife Art by: Laura Curtin

I use cold press Grumbacher linseed oil as a medium for all my animal fur block ins. My inexpensive plain handled brushes called Chinese hair brushes purchased from Barbel’s Art Gallery in Huntington Beach CA are used for nearly all steps of painting fur.

I’m right handed so I paint from left to right. I can’t always paint in this order but it’s the best way to keep from dragging my hands through wet paint. I also paint all fur in the direction that it grows from the animal.

I think longer fur is much easier to paint than short and this dog is a perfect example of long fur. You can see the directional block in of the fur in this early photo specially around the muzzle.

When I paint a color on top of another color, like the dark brown on top of the light beige, the second color must have more linseed oil and be thinner in consistency than the first color. This consistency tip is only useful when the layers are both wet.

pup 2Pointer Progress 2 – Wildlife Art by: Laura Curtin

White fur can be underpainted with reflective colors and shadows.  Half of this dog is white and the fur better look like you want to stick your fingers in it.

The same painting techniques apply to all colors of fur.  Paint the darker colors of the fur on the first coat always painting in the direction that the fur grows. Let the first coat dry completely before starting the next layer of fur. Apply a thin layer of linseed oil to the surface of the dry canvas before starting the second layer of fur.

I scrub  linseed oil into the dry canvas with an old stiff brush and  use a paper towel to wipe off the excess oil from the canvas. This linseed oil process helps the subsequent layer of paint to glide on top of the undercoat.  If you leave any pools of linseed oil on the canvas the paint will spread and feather so really dry the canvas off well.

Use paint and turpentine for all the finishing layers of fur.  Keep the paint thin but not runny.  Keep trying if the technique doesn’t work at first.  If you don’t like the results all you have to do is let the paint dry and start again.

pup 3Pointer Progress 3 – Wildlife Art by: Laura Curtin

Here is little Boogie all finished up.  I loved painting that pink tongue. The last thing I put on her was the whiskers. I don’t know about you but I have the biggest problem painting nice thin whiskers.  I always wait till the painting is very dry in case I have to wipe them off and start again.

pup 4Pointer Progress 4 – Wildlife Art by: Laura Curtin

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I am helping to support a great animal rescue center with portions of my sales from my Etsy sales site. I am giving 10% of all sales to this fantastic animal rescue center.
Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary

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