Dogs and Daisies


She was big and black – and the world’s best dog.  As I was perusing my photos, I came upon Brandy, the dog we had before the kids were born and the first dog that they remember.  Incredibly gentle with our babies and toddlers, she tended to intimidate strangers with her size and deep black color.  I have a picture of our 15 month old eye to eye with her and kissing her nose.  There is also one of the two of them relaxing on the lawn, our daughter resting between her legs.  At close to 80 pounds and sporting double dew claws, we think she was a lab/Great Pyrenees mix.  I have been thinking of doing some pet portraits lately, and thought she would make a great subject.  I used a nib pen to sketch out her basic form and then layered on the watercolors.  She was stone coal black except for one white paw and a white patch on her chest.   The sun would bleach her fur out a little, which accounts for the bits of rusty brown.  I am not sure I am done with her portrait at this point.  I may decide to darken her up a bit but I didn’t want to overdo it just yet.  I welcome your opinion.

Black Eyed Susans

On the flower front, my cone flowers and black eyed Susans have started to be affected by the heat and drought.  The petal arrays on both species are smaller than normal and on the cone flowers the purple color has been seriously bleached out.  You know it’s bad out there when these start to wilt as they are usually pretty hardy.  I picked a few Susans from a shaded area that still looked fairly good and brought them in to paint.

I kept this one simple too, once again outlining the flowers and leaves with the nib pen.  I layered on the yellow for the flowers, following up with yellow ocher, appropriately doctored to a golden orange.  I layered the leaves with skip’s green and then with sap green.  Then I added a little burnt sienna and my purple.  This one seems to have a more illustrative quality to it than most of things I have done but that was intentional for a change.

I think I like both of them.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DixCutler
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 19:43:59

    I’m a sucker for any dog picture so probably biased but I like it and love the story.
    Love the Black Eyed Susans, especially how you treated the leaves.


  2. ruthsartwork
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 19:57:29

    Thanks Dix. It’s probably been 25 years since we lost her and I still miss of her.


  3. Karen
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 20:04:48

    I love them both. Of course I have a soft spot for any animal. You did a really nice rendition.


  4. ruthsartwork
    Jul 22, 2012 @ 20:12:29

    Thanks, Karen. I’m sure you remember Brandy.


  5. lesliepaints
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 21:09:12

    I like them both, too, Ruth, but the dog wins! Especially after your telling me about her. I’m a sucker for animal paintings. 🙂


  6. ruthsartwork
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 21:53:30

    Thanks, Leslie.After a day away from it, I have come to like the dog portrait better. I’m inclined to leave it as it is. I’m thinking of doing our second canine pet next. I called her ding dong dog – for good reason.


  7. Cindy D.
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 08:08:54

    Seems like a black dog would be hard to pull off but Brandy looks great! I like the flowers too, they have a nice organic quality.


  8. ruthsartwork
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 08:22:43

    Thanks , Cindy. I still question whether I have made her black enough. Otherwise, I like the painting.


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