Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Watercolor Pet Portrait of Ludwig

Left: A full-sized value sketch preceeds the painting. This is where I study the features and work out the values (light and dark areas) then transfer an outline of the sketch to the watercolor paper.

Right: The finished portrait

This little guy is Ludwig, a beautiful German Wirehaired Pointer, whose distinctive feature is his wonderful, wiry coat. Ludwig's fur is made up of a multitude of colors, depending on the lighting, but my favorite part to paint was his unruly whiskers. Luddy, as his owner calls him, has a very sweet temperament and was a joy to work with.

The reference photograph I worked from was taken in a natural morning light that had cool highlights and warm shadows. Perfect for the color palette I ended up using.

My client had planned to present this portrait to her husband for a surprise birthday present. However, he was a little too sharp for us and our fabricated story of why I was at the house that day to photograph didn't fool him one bit. No matter, Ludwig's portrait turned out beautifully and made a great gift.


Mike Hale & Co. said...

Beautiful painting! Luddy is quite the handsome man! I would go right for the whiskers too....definitely the fun part! What a great gift, one that will always be treasured!

& CO.

maria said...

This is lovely!
What type of paper do you use?

Manon Doyle said...

Beautiful work Peggi! Ludwig's coat is absolutely amazing!!

Peggi Habets said...

Mike and Manon,
Thanks so much!

Hi Maria,
I've been using 300# for the last couple of portraits. I like some of it's properties but not crazy about the mega absorption. 140# is not thick enough for my liking, so next portrait I am going to try a 260# paper that I just ordered.

Nancy Van Blaricom said...

I love how you share with us the process. This is beautifully done. I can see why the owner was so pleased.

Robin Maria Pedrero said...

Incredible work!!!!

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Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Thanks for sharing your patient technique of a full size tonal sketch. It sure paid off with a stunner of a doggy portrait.

Karine said...

Ludwig is a handsome boy! And your painting is gorgeous. I wonder how you transfer your drawing to the watercolor paper. Is that a trade secret???

Peggi Habets said...

Thanks guys!

Hi Karine,
Ah, my secrets! I place a piece of tracing paper over the drawing and trace the outline and any important shapes. I then rub the other side of the tracing paper with soft graphite and place it carefully over the w/c paper. I press firmly as I retrace the outline and it transfers to the w/c paper.

Sophie said...

He's just gorgeous. Great work!

Annie-Maree said...

Peggi, You have such a wonderful talent. This little guy is so beautifully painted, I love the light effects you have here, just lovely.


Vicki Greene said...

Peggi, I am so glad that I found your blog! Your work is exceptional. I am adding your blog to my blog list.

sam said...

Stunning painting Peggi, the colours are fantastic. Thanks for your comment, its been a delight to look through your blog. I really like Betsy)