Most endearing dog ever! Max’s photograph came to me from the Lindburgh family. They had wanted a picture of their fun-loving and adorable Max before he passed the prime of his life. I am a bit unsure what breed Max is or if his grooming left him looking a bit unusual, but he was a dream to paint.
To keep Max’s multi colored fur and awesome haircut from looking like straw, I don’t paint every strand as if they were a separate entity. I have also found that by varying my brushes and colors I can get a fairly wonderful representation of a dog’s fur. Never use a bristle brush when trying to achieve a soft coat. If you outline every hair with black or brown to represent what you think about dog fur is wrong. Never paint all the fur in the same direction.
Just like human hair, a dog’s fur has many different shades of color. I always ask my clients for a good photographic reference for their pet so I can see the subtle differences between the colors. One of the most successfully ways for me to paint pet portraits is to apply the lighter colors before, the darker ones. Painting on a toned ground helps bring out highlights. Watch the highlights in the dog’s fur. Often they contain blues or greens. I always stand back from the painting every hour or so to make sure I am achieving the overall impression that the client wants.
Look at the face of this dog. Start with the eyes. They are pleading for someone to pet him. Max’s fur breaks into a part on the top of his head that his highlighted by white, or gray. His hair flows like a cockatoo’s crest into shades of browns and gold. The muzzle is highlight with a flow of white fur on either side giving Max the appearance of a little old man. His beard falls in gold and browns below his nose and over his mouth.
Look deep into Max’s golden eyes. They are rounded but have a deep imploring look. I paint them softly to reflect the colors of gold and brown that play around the iris.
Max’s body is gray and gold. It is short fur cut close to his back. He is a somewhat chubby do as you can see by the rolls I painted into his back. He is perfectly groomed, and the red and white leash gives him a jaunty appearance.
I wonder if Max goes to a hairdresser to get that wonderful tousled look. Even his ears are a part of the total package. They seem to be a part of the look his master is trying to achieve – casual yet guarded.
The Lindburghs were very happy with the portrait of Max. It was just what they wanted. I captured, so they said, the colors of his fur perfectly and kept the wonderful look of pleading in his eyes. Look at the picture and, if possible, go find a dog and see how the fur grows.