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  • Kevin Roeckl

Cooper, Addie, and Rio portrait in progress 15

Spent a while on Karen‘s face. Although it doesn’t have the challenge of two eyes and eyebrows, all the features of a typical portrait face, it is one of those pieces of a portrait that is absolutely critical to get the expression just right. To convey maximum emotion to the viewer.


Now Karen’s face and purple shirt are finished. I did a purple underpainting with acrylic paint for the shirt, and then the folds and details with colored pencils over that. The underpainting was done not only to save time coloring in a lot of purple, but because some colors of Prismacolor pencil are not lightfast. That means they will fade with time; they become whitish. The purples are the worst for that. So I try to avoid using purple pencil in my artwork as much as possible. Purple acrylic paint doesn’t fade, so purple was done mainly with a wash of purple paint. Then just needed a few pencil strokes of darker purple for the folds in the fabric, and lighter purple on the sleeve and shoulder.

Woman and Doberman hugging, figures in portrait of SAR  Dobermans, in progress

An interesting observation: Rio is “negative space” in this pic. That’s an art term that means colors and details are put in around the subject, and the subject is indicated not by adding details, it is indicated by the “negative space” left when details are added surrounding it. Artists may do that deliberately in art: you can clearly tell it’s a dog’s head there. In my case, that was just the stopping point for the day. I’ll start filling in the details of Rio when I work on Rio’s head tomorrow. This is how the whole portrait looks now. The "Rio hugging" figures are starting to jump out.

Triple portrait of Search-and-Rescue Dobermans with owner Karen, in progress

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