Pet Art Blog
Twee' Art LLC, Vermont
How to Paint a Siberian Husky Dog
Susie Caron (c) 11/01/19
There are many animals I've not had the pleasure of sharing my life and love with. That's why I get excited to create acrylic pet portraits of different breeds. Today want to share with you how I approached painting this Siberian Husky. With this information, perhaps you'd like to paint one too!
First I selected a royalty free Pixabay photo to use for my reference photo. For my pet portraits I like acrylic paints on stretched canvas in a variety of sizes. For this Husky I chose an 8x10.
In step one, I use Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue and Crimson Red to paint the entire background to indicate snow. Because I use a wide brush, some of the 'swipes' across the canvas roughly resemble patterns in the snow. This must dry thoroughly before I sketch, or if you prefer, trace the Husky onto canvas. When sketching, make certain the eyes, ears and nose are correctly placed and define each with dark and light markings.
The fun next step (#2) involves filling in the major dark and opposite light spaces on the Husky. Then I use gentle under-color washes of purple, blue, tans, or browns where ever called for, to form the patterns and shapes in the fur. It sometimes takes many layers to bring out the best shape and texture and with acrylic. These under-colors will show slightly through subsequent layers.
Quick Tip: Move from one area to another to allow drying. Some artists tell me they don't like acrylics because they dry too quickly. I find they don’t dry fast enough! So because I tend to get bored easily, I jump from one space to another whenever I work, thereby allowing previous areas to dry.
In step #3 I continue to darken the dark areas and lighten the light ones by painting smaller hairs over the color blocked spaces especially on the face and ears. I use a #0 brush to address the eyes, nose and mouth with more detailing. To 'soften' the fur I paint a glaze (wash) of watered down brown (burnt sienna) or depending on the area with added yellow oxide or black. This continues until I'm satisfied.
In the final stages (#4) I highlight the face and ears using Titanium white and add lots and lots of individual fur-hairs. I photograph each major step with my iPad, which helps me see the progress more objectively. Following each step I also find it helpful to walk away and do something that uses my eyes and body differently (laundry, dishes, walk the dogs, or gardening.) This helps me to look with new eyes and objective awareness when I come back.
When I feel satisfied that I've brought out the best in this portrait, I sign it and paint or spray on a protective varnish. Then I enjoy selecting just the right frame. That's it!
I believe the extra time and effort to form layers enhances the texture in the finished portrait. By paying attention to detail in the eyes, nose and mouth I can enhance a more 'life like' portrait.
Was this helpful for you? What do you think about this process? Do you have any special hints that work for you when creating pet portraits? Tell me! I'd love to hear from you.
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Susie Caron, acrylic artist, creates realistic paintings of pets, animals, and selected scenes. Her love of and experience with many pets and farm animals throughout her life, enables her to capture the unique feeling and expression of each subject. In her commission pet and livestock portraits, Susie also works with each customer to discover and then reveal the personality and special bond between pet and human.
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