Another 40″ sheet of velour was mounted and prepared for this piece.  I’m running out of these giant sheets from Dakota now!
This was a secret painting so I didn’t share any progress as it’s being gifted to a husband from his new wife on their wedding day.  The piece is of her two dogs and his two dogs coming together in a big dog family.  I loved the challenge of this although it’s been tricky to put them all in the same world together from different photo reference.

I was painting in several locations on this one.  I started it in the studio, then took a week long trip around Donegal where I had spectacular views to paint by.  I came back and buried myself in the studio to finish it on time.  Hope you enjoy my progress here…

The finished piece 40″x30″


 I chose the light grey velour for this one as there is a lot
of darkness and depth I wanted in the foreground.  I could see
more of the grey tone throughout than the warmth of the
sand coloured paper.
Beginning to lay in the background.  I’m undecided on
the sky really as I’m not using any particular reference.
I know I want the sort of clouds that provide a good bit
of shade when you’re under one as the dogs aren’t in
direct sunlight.  But I also wanted to liven up the blue
in the sky and make it a fresh Northern Irish summer’s day.

 I’m out in the motorhome this week working on this big
piece and surprisingly it’s great in the back of the U-Shaped
lounge as the big board wedges in nicely.  I also manged to find
the exact clouds I was looking for and sort of made these up
based on what was moving past my window.
 Working on Mollie over a view of the gorgeous Narin beach and
Inishkeel island.  There is so much to explore around here and the
next morning we walked out at low tide to Inishkeel island.
The full view with Inishkeel island to the left.
Brocci dashing for the island at low tide 🙂
 I’m so glad to finally get a corner complete
so I can start to imagine how the grass will
ground all the dogs and put them into
proper perspective with eachother.
The collies are both smaller dogs than the
labs behind but I’ve placed them more in
the foreground so that everyone gets equal
attention.  I just hope the grass makes this
effect work and places the middle pair backwards.
 This is the beginning of Sam.  I love the
colour scheme of the four dogs together.
Each one is different but there is a kind of
yin yang between them all with roughly
equal amounts of dark and light overall.


 I’m not being too fussy with the bottoms
of the dogs as they are so concealed
with the grass.  I’ll come back and work
this a little more when I’m doing the grass.
 This picture shows how I begin a black dog’s
coat.  I lay down all the darks first and mark in
fur’s direction.  This is usually done with a Faber
Castell stick as they are a little harder than Unison
but softer then Conte crayons so perfect for this job.
 Beau is coming to life now.
 Sam and Beau almost done.
 I’ve worked some of the back layers of the grass here.
With the foreground still to do it’s already starting to
make more sense.
 Dora is the last character to appear.
I love her happy face!


 Barring the final tweaks I think I’m done!
 Putting the signature on 🙂
 Here is a close up of my big scan.  This is Molly
whose expression I just loved.  The scanning was done
in 8 parts and joined on Photoshop.  Very difficult to keep
the painting totally safe when scanning, I hold my breath!
 Fitted in the big frame just in time for their big day.
The overall dimensions are 48″x38″
 For an added sense of scale.
It’s hard to pack up a big one for travelling!  Thankfully
they live not too far away
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