|"Kellie Girl" 10 x 10 oil on canvas, Copyright Margaurita Spear, Dec. 2013|
While visiting one day a few months ago I saw a small snapshot that I thought would make a nice portrait painting and asked her for the photo to use as a reference. Then I put the photo aside literally and figuratively along with the many other painting ideas I have accumulated but not started or finished this past year.
But I wanted to make this painting for her as a gift this Christmas, so finally around mid-November I began the process. It took about a month of working on the painting on and off to finish it. The under painting came into being easy enough and the first few layers of light and shadow were fine. Then I began blocking in color, which was a lot more difficult than I planned because the contrast from background to subject was actually quite stark (no subtle transition areas). And painting a white-blonde dog was actually harder than I expected because if I went too dark on the shadow areas the color was all wrong, but too light and the painting was too flat and the subject not fluffy at all.
I painted and painted right up until December 23rd when I finally forced myself to stop re-working for fear that I would ultimately ruin the painting all together. "Kellie Girl" was gifted still wet (oil paint takes forever to dry, especially when worked up in glazed layers) on Christmas day... and the recipient loved this gift to the point of tears. I guess that means I captured the likeness enough to touch her heart... whew!