Before I began to paint this stunning Collie, I tried to get an understanding of his personality, nature and behavior. Hunter has a calm disposition and is a very loyal and protective dog. He isn’t a nervous or aggressive dog, but rather he has a gentle and playful nature. What makes Hunter unique is what sets him apart from other Collie’s. Understanding Hunter’s personality helped me realistically portray him in this oil painting. Hunter’s personality and characteristics were revealed to me in the photo I was given of him. His eyes revealed a lot about him, and I wanted to properly convey the essence of who he is in my oil painting. I also wanted to capture Hunter’s unique shape and proportions. My goal was to create a very detailed portrait that would be a perfect representation of Hunter.
Before I began painting, I decided that I wanted the background of this portrait to be completely neutral, so chose to make it black. I wanted the main focus to be the beautiful Collie. I also had to find the right angle from which to paint Hunter. I took my time to be sure about the angles before going any further. The next step for me was to sketch Hunter out in graphite (soft pencil) on the canvas. Once I was satisfied with my sketch, I started painting Hunter as a sketch with thin oil paint, which is darker and cooler than burnt umber. From there, I proceeded to add the color to the background in order to fill out the entire canvas. I used a big, flat brush and added several layers of paint before I achieved the result I wanted.
I painted Hunter’s eyes, nose and mouth first in order to create his expression. My goal was to get the highlight in the dog’s eyes in the right place and in the right proportion, so that I could capture the expression that I was going for. When painting Hunter’s fur, I focused on accurately capturing the variations of color and lengths in his coat. I also had to take into account that hair grows in different directions on different parts of the body. I painted the hair from the bottom to the top, from the direction the hair was growing in. In this way, I was able to succeed in creating a realistic depiction of Hunter’s appearance.