Thursday, August 30, 2018


It's been a super busy month, with a trip to Chicago and house guests and a project of moving my painting set-up from the basement up into our home office. I hadn't picked up a paint brush for weeks and am feeling so rusty! To start things rolling again, of course I had to paint a Callie. :) Still feeling rusty but at least the first one is out of the way.

Callie - Acrylic on 6x6 in. hardboard panel

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Koppi, finally! - and details of my process

My poor cat Koppi never gets painted. It's not for lack of trying, but she's so difficult to paint being pure white. I thought this one turned out ok though.

Koppi - Acrylic on 8x8 in. gessobord

This is the process I use to sketch out my pet portraits before painting them. First, select a photo:

Then crop it proportional to shape of your canvas. It's pretty easy with squares, just crop it into a square. With rectangular canvases, you need to take the size of the canvas into account - for example, if you will be painting it on a 9x12 or 6x8 canvas, crop it as a 3:4 ratio. If you'll be using a 16x20 canvas, crop it as a 4:5 ratio...  

I need grids to draw out the pet portraits. I use an app called GridPainter to add grids to my photos. You tell it your canvas size, and how big you want the grids to be. I am using an 8" canvas, and I told it to make 2" grids.

Then I grid it a second time, with twice as many grids. So this time I told it to make 1" grids.

When I do my initial sketching, I use the larger grids. It's easier to know which "box" you're in with the larger grids, and it also forces me to practice my drawing more than using the smaller grids.

But after the initial sketching, I'll add smaller grids to the important areas if I feel my initial sketch is off, and will use those to finish up the sketch. I've been trying to use the smaller grids less and less...

Once the paper sketch is finished, I use transfer paper to transfer it to my canvas. The reason I don't grid and sketch directly onto the canvas is two-fold: First, I often need to start over once when I'm painting. If I've sketched it on paper, I don't have to completely re-draw the image - I can use the same paper and transfer it again to a new canvas. Second, I think it frees me up a little when painting not to have the grid on my canvas, so instead of potentially focusing too much on one little box to paint, I have to look at the photo as a whole. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Two Koi

This is my second time painting koi, and once again I loved painting the abstract-ish background.  I'm still experimenting with the Lascaux Studio acrylics, I definitely love their opacity. 

Two Koi - Acrylic on 6x6 hardboard panel