Emily's Finished Portrait

I'm finished moving into my new studio and getting ready to take a few months off to have my baby. Before I do, I wanted to show Emily's finished portrait. Emily is a lovely Chow mix from California. After combining photos in a sketch and painting her face and body, I began to shade in a blue background. When choosing a background color, I find it's helpful to start with a gradient of color (in this case, white and Ultramarine Blue) and see what shade works best before proceeding. In this case, the lighter blue worked better with Emily's coat.

The wonderful thing about acrylic paints is that it's so easy to paint over other layers when making adjustments. A drying time of 20 minutes or so is all that's needed. I applied a shaded lighter blue to the whole background.

Emily needed some final adjustments to improve the likeness. Because I changed the shoulder pose of the
original photo, I had to look at some sitting poses of Emily to get her neck and shoulders right. I slimmed down her neck and defined her shoulders by painting over the edges with the blue background paint. Next, I touched up the edges of her shoulders to make them darker and more three-dimensional. Here's Emily's finished portrait: