Here’s the little dog portrait I began yesterday. It’s little in more ways than one – first of all, Cory is a small dog, a shih tzu, and the painting is small, 8″ x 10″. Yesterday I blocked in the colors and began adding the details of the fur. Today I added more detail and washes of color. I think one more session will do it, so, with luck, Cory will be finished tomorrow.
I ran into a problem that I need to find a solution for. Yesterday I mixed grays. But I mostly used them up, and what I didn’t use dried overnight even though the paint was in a covered palette. (It’s alkyd, by the way.) When I tried to mix more greys today and match the color, I was unsuccessful. So I need to mix more paint to begin with, and then I need to find a way to store it so that it won’t dry out – I’ll have to think about that. There are tiny little plastic “pots” with snap on caps, but they’re a pain to clean. It would be nice to have something quite small, air-tight, and inexpensive enough to be disposable.
But on the good side, I really liked the surface I painted on. I began with 1/2″ thick MDF which I cut to size on the table saw. Then I coated it with spray primer and let the primer dry thoroughly. The next and final step was to use Elmer’s spray archival adhesive to cover the primed panel with a piece of Fredrix watercolor canvas. The canvas was from a 9×12″ pad, so I cut away the excess with a craft knife when the glue was dry. To finish the piece, I’ll glue strips of nice wood (oak or walnut) around the edges, paint the back a coordinating color with acrylic paint, varnish the whole thing (retouch varnish for the painting and water-base satin varnish for the wood edge and back) and add a sawtooth hanger. A small painting on a rigid surface, like this one, could then be hung on the wall or displayed on a small easel. This is a commission for a Christmas present and I hope Cory’s owner will be happy with it.
Even though it’s made for watercolor, I like using Fredrix watercolor canvas with alkyds. I like the fine texture and have not found any technical problems with using it for a paint other than the one it was developed for.