- Her father on a tractor with a cowboy hat
- Her dad petting his black Labrador
- Three pictures of the mountain river from probably over 20 years ago
I sketched him fishing in the mountain river with Elephant Mountain showing in the background. I developed a couple roughs that I was happy with and presented to my client. Cathy really was delighted with the one with the Labrador in the river behind her father. Once I had a client direction and approval I went back to the studio, refining the sketch.
Re-evaluated the drawing I decided to add several more pine trees in the background considering 20 years of foliage growth. I also reworked the configuration of the shoreline, adjusted the level of water, and arranging some of the larger rocks.
The biggest challenge I had was estimating the height and width of her father since I only had a photo of him sitting in a tractor showing only the upper torso of his body.
I then had to figure out how the dog would be placed in the water making him look natural to the environment and how the water would be rushing around him. Sometimes you can’t just Google a solution!
Once I was happy with the sketch I transfered it to #300 pound Arches, cold press. Normally, I stay away from frisket because it causes hard edges if you don't use it properly. But in this case I wanted to retain the delicate, fine details of the man, dog, and some of the rock's shape. Frisket allows you to paint uninterrupted washes in the area around your subject such as what you see in this photo below. To read more about my frisket tips CLICK HERE.
I presented the final framed painting and Cathy was extremely pleased. But the big challenge was what her father would say.
I called Cathy after the holidays. She said she shipped it out west to her dad. and he was excited to hang the painting.. Needless to say he was thrilled with his Christmas gift.