Depicting An Animated Subject

Cathy’s Canines, watercolor, 11×15″ ©2009 Bivenne Staiger

Silky terriers seem to be highly active dogs, so to convey that with these three, I framed them against grass and pavement shapes that cross the composition diagonally. I could have also blurred some shape edges to communicate the same. They are focused on something beyond the confines of the space, as if ready to jump right out.

All images ©Bivenne Staiger

First local color is established in major shapes using the palest value or brightest color. Some darks (in the dog at left) and mid-values were also added early to help distinguish one animal’s features from another.

All images ©Bivenne Staiger

Next, spatter and cast shadows were added to the pavement, while saturated color enhances the dogs’ and some grass form shadows. Note that negative space painting suggests white teeth.

All images ©Bivenne Staiger

Finally richest darks, eyes, noses and other details complete the piece (see top image in this post). I usually add such facial features last because I imagine the creature or person yapping back at me! 😉

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