The making of “Playful Cavaliers” – dog/pet portrait oil painting


This is the making of “Playful Cavaliers”, a dog-pet portrait original oil painting by artist Christopher Clark.

Here is the finished painting, which you can read about here. This painting was done during my oil painting workshop/class at Jerry’s Artarama in Tempe, near Phoenix.

Playful-Cavaliers, pet portrait oil painting christopher clark

I start with a charcoal value study, in order to establish a full (and very simple) value range, and to work out any drawing problems.

Now to the canvas: using only three colors (yellow ochre, cad red, and black), I do an initial wash to indicated my motif of light-do-dark, and warm-to-cool.

Here is with just the dark shapes stated, and a very simplified drawing. The key for any painting, no matter how complicated, is to simplify the drawing into large shapes and large patches of value.

By wiping away the wet oil paint, I can add the light values to complete this monochrome-style underpainting. I now have my accurate drawing and values, with the addition of color temperature indications. From here it’s just a paint by number! Well, of course it’s not that simple, but this underpainting is the real heavy lifting.

Here is with the background and grass field painted in. Notice how the colors get more intense as they get closer to you, and less intense as they recede (aerial perspective).

Here’s the first dog painted in, again paying attention to color temperature changes. Warm light and cool shadows is the typical rule, though reflected light and open shadows always warm things up a bit – be sure to pay attention to this.

christopher clark pet portraits 8 - dog painting original oil paint

And here’s the finished painting, with the other dog painted in, and more grass details added in the foreground.

Playful-Cavaliers, pet portrait oil painting christopher clark

Contact me to purchase this original painting of these adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Or commission your own dog portrait or pet portrait today.

Also contact me if you are interested in taking my oil painting workshops/classes.

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