The Color Red

Our art club has started having monthly themes that we paint to then we talk about the pieces at our meetings.  This month’s theme is “anything red.”  I’ve had a very difficult time deciding what, if anything, to do for this challenge as red is a color I almost never work with.

After several ideas that didn’t go anywhere, I ran across a nice photo of my beautiful dog, now in doggie heaven, Daisy.  So I decided to do a classic style portrait with a rich red background.

I started by making a textured surface which is a piece of hardboard that I sealed with primer.  Next, I applied a coat of thick molding paste, mostly in the areas where Daisy would not be.  I mushed the molding paste around with my fingers and torn edges of cardboard until I was happy with it.  Finally, I toned it with thinned burnt Sienna.  I wanted it to have an old world feel.


After transferring my drawing with white transfer paper, I began working on the background.  To begin, I scumbled in three different reds, cadmium red medium, napthol red, and quinacrodine burnt orange.  I applied a layer of somewhat transparent gold over that, then added more red, wiping the red back to allow some of the gold to show where the texture is raised.

I finished my first day’s painting session by blocking in some of the main colors.  And, of course I couldn’t resist beginning to paint the eyes and nose.  I’m off to a good start.  But then I find that the starts always look the best as they leave so much to the imagination.


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