I've read several places that in almost every painting you reach an
awkward stage. This is when values are put down generally and you haven't put in much detail.
It's that stage where we get disappointed and 'stuck'.
At this point it's easy to be discouraged. Instead of giving up I concentrate on
some part of the dog that shows her personality. In this case, the eyes.
These 'folk dog' studies are helping me gain experience with oils. Each day I study
for an hour or so before painting. It really is wonderful how much is out there in the
library and online. I never studied oils in college so am a beginner here.
When the animal this elegant she seems impossible to paint. But
by layering and glazing I can add detail a bit at a time...layers of personality.
Here I concentrated on the slope of her forehead and the tufts
at her ear and this gave me enough confidence to go on to modeling.
Sometimes the value study takes over and I can't see the forest for the trees. On this guy
I was happy to have 'gotten' the eyes early on. Seems I need some small success to continue and with
my skills at this point I usually just need to put it aside for awhile.
Then I can come back and see beyond the awkward stage. One author says that painting is
somewhere between drawing and sculpture. This is helpful for me to keep in mind.
If the painting isn't working I look for ways to un-flatten the surface. I think the white under
his chin was helpful in modeling. I need to practice with spheres and boxes and
Opie, resident critic and reminder to go outside frequently.