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  • Writer's pictureKevin Roeckl

Remmy portrait in progress 11

The water splash is finished. That really gives a dynamic feel to Remmy charging joyfully through the river.

Walt was right, that photo of Remmy that I’m working from, really was his “Mona Lisa” photo.

Detail of colored pencil portrait of Doberman splashing through a river, in progress

Here's a close-up so you can see the details of the water splash. I have been fascinated by reflections on water, the way the ripples and flow of water distort reflections, the shape of water as it splashes or tumbles over rocks, ever since I started my gallery career at age 20. (I think being a triple Pisces has something to do with my love of water….) The shapes and beautiful flowing curves of water as it moves fascinates me. I’ve found colored pencil to be a great medium for capturing that. I've never seen another artist who can capture water in colored pencil like I do.

Colored pencil portrait of Doberman, in progress

Now you can see how I made the two Remmy heads grey instead of true black so the “Mona Lisa” (center) Remmy would stand out the most.

Remmy is a black-and rust Doberman, but I’m doing the 4 outer Remmys in this portrait with dark grey being the darkest tone for his black areas. Although each one is important, the center Remmy is what gives the artwork it’s impact, and goes with the river scene that fills the whole piece. With 5 depictions of a black Doberman using black for their dark areas, the portrait would have 5 black blobs spaced around the artwork….too many black Dobermans: your eye would bounce around the artwork without any central focus. To give the center Remmy more “punch”, that’s the only figure where his black areas are true black.

To our eyes, each head looks like a “black” Doberman. That’s because the light and dark tones of the head are correct in relation to eachother. But the darkest areas (which our mind tells us is “black”) are actually dark grey. That was not obvious in the previous “in progress” pics I shared, until you could see Mona Lisa Remmy for comparison. That true black, surrounded by all the white of the water splash (the only true white in the artwork) is what really makes the central Remmy jump out. (Plus the joy and magnificence of handsome Remmy from Walt’s “Mona Lisa” photo.)

Colored pencil portrait of Doberman, in progress

That is part of the technical strategy

I have to plan into a piece before I even start on it. I took great care not to go any darker than charcoal grey when I did the two Remmy heads. I will continue that in the lower two Remmys too.


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